March 1, 2016

Commissioners set public hearing on Buxton tax district for April 4


The Dare County Board of Commissioners has prepared a report, published a map, and set a public hearing on establishing a county service district in north Buxton to help pay for the planned beach nourishment project to protect Highway 12.

The hearing will be at 10 a.m. on Monday, April 4, in the Commissioners' Meeting Room in Manteo.

The report outlines the need for the service district and includes a statement that the district meets the standards set by law.

Dare County proposes to nourish 2.9 miles of beach from approximately the Canadian Hole to the old site of the Cape Hatteras Lighthouse with 2.6 million cubic yards of sand from an offshore borrow pit.

According to the report, the estimated cost of the project is $25 million or $9.62 per cubic yard of sand.  The project, the report says, will be funded by a combination of the county's beach nourishment fund and from revenues generated from a county service district made up of all oceanfront properties in the project area.

Before the project can start, the National Park Service must issue an special use permit to nourish the beaches, which it owns, but the environmental documents supporting the permit have already been completed.  After the Park Service issues its permit, the only other permit needed will be from the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers.  Both permits are expected in early April, according to the Coastal Science & Engineering, the contractor who is planning the project.

The county's report on the service district says that the plan calls for the project bids to be let in April, with "construction beginning in early summer of 2016 if bids come in within budget and contractor's proposed construction period is viable."

According to the county, there are about 34 oceanfront properties in the area valued at about $16.8 million.

The report does not set the tax rate but only makes the case that the establishment of the service district meets the legal standards it is required to meet.

The county says that it is economically feasible to provide the services -- beach nourishment -- in the district without an "unreasonable or burdensome annual tax levy" because the project proposed is to be funded "primarily with funds provided from the Dare County Beach Nourishment Fund."

"The district would only provide a small portion of the overall cost of the project, the report says.

About the demonstrable need for beach nourishment, the report says:

"For many years Highway 12 at various locations on Hatteras Island has been closed as a result of various weather events. These closures, often on multiple occasions in a given year and sometimes for extended periods of time, create severe disruptions to the life, health, safety and welfare of the residents of and visitors to Hatteras Island. Additionally these repeated closures have had and will continue to have significant negative impacts."

And it concludes:

"Continued erosion of the beach in Buxton puts oceanfront homes at risk of collapse which poses risks to nearby homes and to people using the beach as well. The prevention of closures of Highway 12 and the prevention of continued damage to oceanfront properties demonstrate the need for providing in the district a beach erosion control and flood and hurricane protection works project."


Click here to read the entire Dare County Buxton Beach Nourishment Project Report and Notice of Public Hearing.

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