June 6, 2016
Board approves Buxton special district for beach nourishment
By IRENE NOLAN
its meeting this morning, the Dare County Board of Commissioners
unanimously passed a resolution establishing a service district in
north Buxton to help pay for next year's planned beach nourishment
Commissioner Jack Shea made the motion to approve the district.
The motion to second was made by Commissioner Wally Overman. There was
no discussion before the vote.
After the vote on the service district, the Commissioners opened a public hearing on the county's 2017 budget.
The only speaker for the hearing was Jim Hartshorne of Frisco, who owns
a home on the Buxton oceanfront, who said he thought all taxpayers in
each village should pay for beach nourishment projects within that
After the hearing, the board unanimously approved the county's proposed 2017 budget of $104 million.
Included in that budget is a rate for 25 cents per $100 of valuation
for the new Buxton service district, which is effective on July 1.
Dare County has received permits, including a special use permit from
the National Park Service to nourish 2.9 miles of beach from about the
Canadian Hole/Haulover area to the former site of the Cape Hatteras
Lighthouse. The total cost of the project is expected to be about
The county has taken on the beach nourishment project since the N.C.
Department of Transportation did not declare a state of emergency in
the Buxton area -- as it did in Rodanthe -- after hurricanes Irene in
2011 and Sandy in 2012.
In 2014, DOT completed a nourishment project in north Rodanthe and the
S-curves at the south end of Pea Island to protect Highway 12.
When the DOT project did not include Buxton, the Dare County Board of
Commissioners decided to forge ahead with its own project to protect
Highway 12 in north Buxton from frequent ocean overwash. The project
will be paid for mostly by a 2 percent county occupancy tax.
However, one of the county's towns has already nourished its beaches
-and three more intend to start projects next year.
Taxpayers in the towns are paying part of the cost of the nourishment
projects, and members of the Board of Commissioners felt that Buxton
property owners on or near the oceanfront who will benefit from the
beach restoration should help pay for it as a matter of fairness.
At first, the board proposed that the service district include only 35
oceanfront properties, valued at about $17 million. After an April 4
public meeting on that proposal, the board decided to expand the
district to include other properties to the west of Old Lighthouse Road.
The service district established today includes 147 parcels of land in
the triangle bordered by the Atlantic Ocean, Old Lighthouse Road, and
Highway 12 (and a few properties west).
The board had a public hearing on that proposal on May 2 at the Fessenden Center in Buxton.
At public hearings, some taxpayers have opposed helping pay for the
nourishment project since they feel it is a road project that should be
paid for by NCDOT, and others have said it should be expanded to
include other islanders who benefit from using Highway 12. Most,
though, welcome the protection for their properties, though all of the
property owners who have spoken at public hearings and meetings are
unhappy that the project has been postponed until next year.
The county had hoped that sand would be pumped on the beach this
summer, but only two companies bid on the work this summer and both
bids were over the budget by about $12 million. The county has
contracted with Weeks Marine of Covington, La., to do the work in 2017
at a cost of $22.15 million.
The county budget for 2017 that was passed today calls for no increase in taxes, except for the north Buxton service district.
The base county tax rate is 43 cents per $100 of valuation, but
taxpayers in unincorporated Dare also pay for fire districts, rescue
squad districts, some community center districts, and sanitation.
The base county rate in Buxton -- including fire, rescue, and
sanitation -- is 64.84 cents per $100 of valuation. Taxpayers in
the new service district will now pay 89.84 cents per $100 of valuation.
to read the resolution passed today by the Board of Commissioners
establishing a county service district for the Buxton beach nourishment
Commissioners hear comment on Buxton tax district, take no action
Dare's proposed budget leaves tax rate unchanged, except for north Buxton