Ray Sturza, the first planning director for the Town of Kill Devil Hills, who went on to serve multiple terms as mayor, passed away Monday.
Born April 3, 1953, Sturza achieved a Bachelor of Arts in Political Science from the University of North Carolina at Wilmington, and a Master’s of Science in Planning/Public Administration from East Carolina University.
Prior to working for the Town of Kill Devil Hills, he served as the Planning Director for Washington County, North Carolina, where he oversaw development of its Land Use Plan.
Sturza began working in Kill Devil Hills in September 1982 as the Town Planner, and was promoted to the Town’s first Planning Director in 1985.
According to a news release, accomplishments Kill Devil Hills earned during his tenure include a Coastal and Estuarine Water Beach Access Award from the Office of Coastal Management, overseeing the development of the KDH Public Beach Access House, what is now the Ocean Bay Regional Bathhouse, and an award to the town of a coastal and estuarine water beach access grant through the N.C. Coastal Management Program.
He contributed to the “Cities on the Beach” conference on the Management of Developed Coastal Barriers, sponsored by the Land and Water Policy Center of the University of Massachusetts.
Sturza also completed State of North Carolina training in the proper administration of the minor development permit program under the Coastal Area Management Act.
In 1987, he began his service in the Dare County Planning Department as the Planner until he was promoted to the County’s Planning Director in 1990. He retired in October 2010, and served as a consultant in later years.
His appointed and elected service to the Town of Kill Devil Hills began when he was appointed as an alternate member to the Planning Board in 1989.
Sturza served as a member on the Planning Board until March 2003, when he was appointed to the Board of Commissioners following a member’s resignation.
Luck was on Sturza’s side when he won a coin toss to be appointed Commissioner, and was subsequently elected and reelected to fill the position.
After being elected as the Mayor Pro Tem, Sturza and was appointed to fill an unexpired term as Mayor of Kill Devil Hills on January 16, 2007.
Sturza went on to serve two additional terms as mayor through December 2011.
A Mass of the Resurrection will be celebrated at 11:00 am on Tuesday, December 3, 2019, at Holy Redeemer by the Sea Catholic Church in Kitty Hawk by Father John Hanley, osfs.
Twiford Funeral Home, Outer Banks, is assisting the family with arrangements. Condolences and memories can be shared at www.TwifordFH.com.