Outer Banks vs. outer space — must a UFO house meet NC’s earthly building codes?

The Futuro House in Frisco
The Futuro House in Frisco

One of North Carolina’s craziest coastal tourist attractions – the so called “Frisco UFO” house – has inspired a social media campaign in response to speculation that Dare County officials want the silver flying saucer torn down or moved.

The one-time home is in the Frisco community of the Outer Banks, and has become nationally known as one of the oddities tourists see when driving up the state’s coastline.

Dare County officials say the hubbub is all a misunderstanding. But a petition on Change.org has so far gotten 3,000 signatures from people demanding county commissioners desist in their efforts to force the ship’s owner to be in “compliance with bureaucratic (zoning) requirements.”

“Let it remain where it is, in its rightful place as part of the uniqueness and charm of the NC Outer Banks,” says the petition.

The petitioners believe the county wants the ship moved.

However, county officials say this is not about a final countdown for the UFO.

Dare County Planning Department Director Donna Creef told the Outer Banks website HatterasDesigns.Net that it’s a matter of whether the space ship can be occupied by humans.

“The structure doesn’t meet any building codes or fire codes,” Creef told HattarasDesigns.Net. “We haven’t told (the owner) that he needs to move it, or that it needs to be demolished...The UFO can stay at its current site, so long as it is closed off and people are not allowed to enter.”

That’s a problem for UFO owner Leroy Reynolds, who wants to turn the structure into a “living museum,” according to TV station WRAL. Reynolds, who owns the home but not the property, would also like to add a souvenir stand and portable restroom to the site, media outlets have reported.

County Manager Robert Outten told WRAL that the door to the ship was ordered sealed in 2006, because it doesn’t meet zoning requirements. And Outten says the county’s stance hasn’t changed in the last decade, it was reported.

“It’s perfectly OK to leave it there, he just can’t occupy it,” Outten told WRAL. “He asked about occupying it. We told him he could, as long as he met code.”

Reynolds has taken to Facebook to express his frustration, and even asked if any engineers will step up to help him fix such things as the ship’s foundation.

“Dare county has made their decision that the Frisco UFO can only be used as a yard ornament,” Reynolds recently posted on Facebook. “Unless someone changes their mind, this is were it stands. Don’t know what to do next.”

For now, the only thing all sides seem to agree on is that the ship is a tourist attraction worth keeping.

A 2012 story in the Island Free Press said the spaceship, officially known as a Futuro House, was purchased and brought to the island more than 50 years ago by a couple who wanted to use it as a beach house retreat. It’s had a couple of owners, who have used it for everything from a flea market to an “Out of this World” hotdog stand, reported the Island Free Press.

“There may be tensions between a few individuals at this point, but the UFO is a local endeavor that adds mass interest to our island, and is a structure that no one wants to see fail, moved, or demolished,” wrote editor Joy Crist in a blog posted on HatterasDesigns.Net.

“There are many people who are rooting for the UFO. And while there’s no obvious answer, there are hopefully options for compromise.”