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  • Writer's pictureCarol Ann Ross

Coastal Folks

If you were born and raised on the Carolina coast, fished, swam and spent most of your life outdoors in the Carolina sun, then you understand how natives feel about the development and care of our most precious land. We get a little protective when you’re talking about putting in this and changing that. We’ve seen natural ways turn to cement and houses obstructing views, it seems,overnight. Certainly Holly Ridge does not want to see over development occur

I got a chance to talk with Nathan Rhue, Community Development Director of Holly Ridge, a few days ago and came away with a feeling that he has that understanding. An understanding that keeps the locals in the front, after all, he is a native North Carolinian, born and raised in Carteret County, who spent his youth working closely with his father. He learned a lot from him, working construction, clearing land and working yard maintenance. Nathan began at the bottom working his way up, first by having his own construction business, then in 2006 he worked for the town of Beaufort in public works. From ‘08 to ‘10 he worked as a building inspector. He’s also worked for the city of Lenor for four years in code enforcement and was a member of the NC Association of Zoning Officials. Nathan is now on the board of directors for the NCAZ. In 2021 he was awarded Zoning Official of the year. So you see, Nathan Rhue has had a lot of experience. He is truly a by the book man, but as he says, “it's not my job to beat people over the head with ordinances.” Nathan says that he’s willing to work with anyone to develop a strategy for what they want. He’s willing to find a way to accommodate and work with them.

As for growth in Holly Ridge, Nathan takes pride in the new industrial park off of highway 17, how it is off the main road and says he wants the park to grow, he would like for the town to offer more for the community. “A walkable community with sidewalks, trails, and even concerts in the summer would be nice for our community.” He mentioned other amenities like a grocery store and even a fast food restaurant that are family friendly. “This is our town and we want a say-so about what is going on in it.” He adds, encouraging others to voice their concerns and needs. He adds that he would like to see a family oriented community where you can take care of needs like shopping and entertainment. His wife Jessica, shares in his desire for a family community, and works with the city of New Bern.

“The town has already made some changes in commercial development,” says Rhue, “the town is growing with the influx of military families and retirees, so we are looking for commercial development that could invite different small businesses.”

Nathan says when it comes to development one has to be proactive, to have a vision of what you want. Making Holly Ridge a family community seems to be an important part of that vision and that he understands that there has to be a strategy for development.

Thue with granddaughter

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