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more beach nourishment on the horizon for obx

Diagram of how beach nourishment works. Image, Town of Nags Head.

Diagram of how beach nourishment works. Image, Town of Nags Head.

Unwilling to wait for either federal or state funding, Dare County is moving forward with beach nourishment proposals with the towns of Duck, Kitty Hawk and Kill Devil Hills signing a cooperative interlocal funding agreement with the county.

As residents, business owners and town officials witness the loss of beach and the potential of lost revenue and jobs, support for the process has grown.

Supporters point to the success of the beach nourishment on the Nags Head shoreline.

There is some opposition to the proposals, although it is not well organized. Most of the opposition raises concerns about the upfront and ongoing costs and has expressed apprehension about environmental processes.

Of the northern Dare County beach towns, only Southern Shores has not entered into an agreement to nourish its beaches. Relatively stable with very little retreat in it’s beaches, there is no reason to pursue a project at this time. However, the town council did pass a limited eminent domaine ordinance allowing access to the beach from any property if nourishment is required.

The total financial commitment for the county is $42.6 million with the towns covering approximately 40% of the cost. The balance comes from a county nourishment fund partially funded by occupancy taxes.

To fund their portion of the project the towns are proposing municipal service districts (MSD)—areas with different property tax obligations based on how close they are to the beach.  The town of Kitty Hawk, as an example, has proposed three districts: a shoreline district east of US 158, a business district centered around the 158/Bypass corridor, and a residential district west of the Bypass.

To date no town has instituted a MSD with town council debates on the funding plan scheduled for the spring of 2015 when the interlocal agreement calls for financing agreements to be in place.

The county also plans on nourishing beaches in Rodanthe and Buxton. The estimated cost of those projects is $25 million.

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