County declares six houses on Buxton
Beach unsafe...WITH SLIDE SHOW
By IRENE NOLAN
A Dare County building inspector has put up "unsafe structure" notices on six oceanfront houses on the beach in north Buxton.
Department inspector I.G. Scarborough said that power has been
disconnected to the houses, which are not allowed to be occupied.
houses have varying degrees of damage, he said. Septic tanks and
drainfields are damaged at four of the six houses, foundation pilings
are undermined at some, and all have some degree of damage to steps and
handrails. At one house, the back deck has pulled away from the
One of the houses is located at the end of Cottage
Avenue, and the other are on Tower Circle. He said none of the
houses is being currently occupied and that all of the owners have been
Owners of the unsafe structures will have to get
permits from the Dare County Planning Department, CAMA, and the county
Health Department before the houses can be occupied again.
said a few of the houses with damaged septic systems could have trouble
getting Health Department permits to repair or replace them because so
much beach has been lost. County regulations for septic tanks require
setbacks from the first line of vegetation on beaches.
Scarborough said he first became aware of the problems in the area on the day after Easter.
of the north Buxton beach is badly eroding and structures have been
seriously beaten up in northeasters last fall and winter. However,
there have been no coastal storms or problems with heavy surf in recent
In fact, the beach in front of the north Buxton motels --
once the most seriously eroded in the area -- has built out slightly
this spring, while the beach to the south in front of the houses has
begun eroding more quickly.
Most of the recent erosion seems
to be in an area where owners had placed sandbags in front of the
houses. You can see in the aerial photographs in the slide show that
accompanies this article that there is still some beach in front of the
houses that do not have sandbags in front.
Dare County is in the
process of getting permits from the National Park Service to nourish
the north Buxton Beach -- in front of the houses and motels and north
of them along Highway 12.
Although the beach nourishment will
benefit the private property owners in the area, Dare County's stated
purpose in pursuing the project is to protect Highway 12, which is
threatened by the serious erosion.
In addition to NPS, many
state and federal agencies are involved in the beach restoration
project and must also approve it and/or issue permits. The agencies are
meeting on a regular basis during the planning and permitting process.
"It is moving along well," Commissioner Warren Judge said yesterday. "No agency is throwing up roadblocks,"
$25 million project is being paid for with county occupancy tax funds
and is expected to begin early next summer with completion in August
Although property owners have stated over and over at
public meetings that they can't wait any longer for more sand on the
beaches, county, state, and federal officials have said that the
nourishment is moving as quickly as it can under current environmental
CLICK HERE TO VIEW SLIDE SHOW