Talk of seaside homes in Rodanthe draws crowds – Reuters

More than 80 people gathered at the Rodanthe-Waves-Salvo community building to hear a panel talk about Rodanthe homes threatened by beach erosion. There was only standing room on Thursday March 3rd.

The panelists described the current situation, planned contingency measures and answered questions about long-term solutions.

In the early morning of February 9, a house on Ocean Drive collapsed in the surf. Very soon, the debris was washed south to ramp 23 south of Salvo. Within 48 hours, debris was found at ramp 34, north of Avon.

Get the latest headlines sent to you

The owners have hired a contractor, a debris removal plan has been submitted and the National Coastline issued a debris removal permit on Friday morning February 11th.

The debris poses a safety hazard to visitors to the Cape Hatteras National Seashore. Quickly, the boards with nails can be buried in the sand and can only be found by someone walking innocently on the beach.

Due to the danger, the National Coastline has closed the beach 100 yards north of the last house on Ocean Drive and 100 yards south of the last house on the south end. Ocean Drive is just south of Rodanthe Pier.

At the meeting, Dave Hallac, Superintendent of Eastern North Carolina National Parks, said “there is debris on the beach. We’ll do our best to clean things up.

On Ocean Drive, eight of 11 remaining homes with oceanfront property are labeled by Dare County as uninhabitable due to structural failure, compromised septic system and inlet-outlet issues, reported Noah Gillam, Dare County Planning Director.

At least three houses are under surveillance for complete failure. The high tide line goes past the westernmost pilings of the houses.

The immediate need is an emergency action plan.

Cape Hatteras National Seashore and Dare County employees have reached out to owners of oceanfront homes to ask homeowners to find a standby insured contractor and immediately put a board-approved debris removal plan into place. of sea.

A problem with the initial collapsed house is that a contractor with sufficient insurance was not on standby ready to act and no plan was approved. Another issue was that the call for volunteers went out for a cleanup on February 14.

The current plan is for national park staff to respond immediately and for volunteers to be alerted and working within 24 hours. Both will have instructions to drag the debris well above the high tide line.

Asked an audience member, “Why don’t you make them take it down?”

“We can’t make these people take it down,” Dare County executive and attorney Robert L. Outten responded. He said Nags Head tried it and the courts ruled against the town.

The oldest home on Ocean Drive is the northernmost home built in 1970. Six homes were built in the 1980s, one in 1992, and three with 2000 dates 2002, 2003, 2004, according to the county’s website. Dare.

Commissioner Danny Couch, referring to the age of the houses, said: “We didn’t get here overnight. It will get worse. »

Couch took on insurance. He was in contact with the insurance commissioner’s office.

The legal issue of public versus private ownership is explored by the National Park Service.

With short-term mitigation locked in, interrogators moved on to longer-term approaches, such as beach feeding and sandbag placement.

Outten answered questions about beach food. The county established a beach restoration fund funded by two cents from the occupancy tax. Outten reported that no money is available for a Rodanthe project, given current projects planned and the policy to fund existing projects every five years.

Additionally, the Beach Restoration Fund would pay half the cost of the project and the owners of Rodanthe would pay half the cost. The projects at Avon and Buxton are based on protecting NC 12, a difficult argument to make for Ocean Drive.

On sandbags, Outten noted that the Coastal Resources Commission has rules and permits are available. But Hallac replied, “we don’t generally favor sandbags.” He said that once installed, none are removed which spoils the range. Additionally, he said “sandbags act like a wall.”