Monday, February 28, 2011

They Paved Paradise and Put up a Parking Lot . . .

As Joni Mitchell wrote, “Don’t it always seem to go that you don’t know what you’ve got till it’s gone?” Swan Beach Corolla LLC is coming back yet again to ask for another opportunity to destroy the natural beauty of Swan Beach. Commercial Development in the off road area is back on the drawing board, as the company Swan Beach Corolla, LLC, seeks to obtain a conditional zoning change from residential to commercial in Swan Beach.

The proposal seeks to develop 37.57 acres into commercial use. The area would have an Inn with associated structures on the north end of Swan Beach with approximately 302 suites (270 in north, 32 in the south), a fishing pier at the southern end of Swan Beach, and nearly 20,000 square feet commercial with commercial shops, restaurants, etc. to service the Inn. The plans also include a “possible corral area for wild horses.”

When both commercial and residential development reached the point that the wild horses were no longer safe in Corolla proper, they were rounded up and moved north to the off road area. It is their last stand – all that remains of their habitat. That habitat covers the bones of nearly 500 years of their wild ancestors.

The off road area is unique. Corolla is unique. We are not like other beaches – that is what draws people here. We have one of the last few coastal areas that is not developed to saturation. We are home to sea turtles, shore, sea, and migratory birds, a variety of wild life – and the North Carolina State Horse. We do not need or want commercial development in the off road area. It is a “Pandora’s Box” and once that lid is opened, paradise is lost and the fate of the wild horses will be uncertain at best.

There is a public hearing scheduled for May 16, 7:00 p.m. at the Historic Courthouse in Currituck. If you can’t attend, please go to and contact the Board of Commissioners and let them know that there is no place for commercial development in the off road area.