EMERALD ISLE, CARTERET COUNTY -

A public hearing is scheduled at 6pm, July 8th at Emerald Isle Town Hall concerning a controversial rezoning proposal. Owners of Island Harbor Marina are requesting a zoning change from the town to build an RV park.

People who live on Sound Drive say their quiet, narrow street isn't built for the kind of traffic that an RV park would bring. They're also concerned about property values and safety. The proposed development is slated for 127 spaces.

According to town documents a change is zoning could open the door for construction of everything from a bar to a grocery store to bed and breakfast lodging on the residential street.

"We don't need that kind of traffic going through here," said neighbor Jim Heatherly.

According to town documents one half of the marina has already been rezoned for special use. The development took on the name "Marina Village" in 2008. However, in 2010, construction of a planned dry stack boat storage facility and other projects never materialized. Now marina owners, Maritime Siblings LLC, are looking to rezone the other half of the property making all 14 acres available for special use.

The tract is question now is about six acres and many nearby residents are upset.

"I've collected, just myself, fourteen pages of signatures," said Jim Skinner, a homeowner on Sound Drive near the marina's main entrance.

Plans also call for the removal of dunes and trees that have long protected the neighborhood from strong winds and Bogue Sound flooding from tropical storms and hurricanes.

"With no burm, can I not expect water to reach my home?" said Skinner.

Mobile homeowners leasing lots now at the site could lose their homes as most are too old to be moved within the town or county.

NewsChannel12 attempted to contact the owners of the marina. We were instructed call their lawyer instead. We did so but did not hear back.

"Not that people don't have a right to improve they're property but it should go along with and coincide with the residential neighborhood...add to it, not take away from it, said Skinner.