The Kitty Hawk shoreline has been hit hard in terms of flooding and deterioration. Houses have been lost, business flooded, and the road washed out. What is in store in terms of saving this “beaten shore”? The Outer Banks Voice reports that at the last town Planning Board Meeting the citizens heard that the town is taking this threat seriously. Here are a few highlights from the article, and you can Read the full article here.
Breaking the silence on Kitty Hawk’s beaten shore – By Russ Lay
We’re hearing some encouraging news from Kitty Hawk. At the town’s last Planning Board meeting, citizens were informed that Kitty Hawk is taking the threat to its beleaguered shoreline seriously.
In an April 9, 2012 article on the N.C. Bar Association web site, Stacey Carless reiterates North Carolina’s preferred “concept of maintaining natural beaches by not allowing hardened structures” on the state’s coastlines.
Ironically, that is the exact situation prevailing in Kitty Hawk today, with one glaring exception.The hardened structure serving as the last line of defense between the town’s infrastructure and the Atlantic Ocean isn’t a groin, a jetty, a seawall or an offshore artificial reef.
The hardened structure that defines the town’s boundaries between the land and sea is a road, specifically N.C. 12.
Over a decade ago the dire status of the town’s shoreline was revealed when the Army Corps of Engineers conducted a study on the efficacy of beach nourishment along Dare’s northern beaches.It was that study and an initial funding promise from Congress that prompted the so-called “sand tax” to be considered to generate the local portion of revenue needed to fund the mostly-federal project.
Even then, it was uncertain if much of Kitty Hawk’s oceanfront would be covered by a federal project. The Army Corps bases some of its qualifications for nourishment programs on the value of the infrastructure the wider beach would protect.In much of Kitty Hawk, the oceanfront infrastructure of revenue-generating rental homes had already been lost to the ocean.
Constant flooding has not only eliminated most of the town’s oceanfront — and the revenue oceanfront properties generate — it now threatens homes and businesses on the west side that no one could argue were built “too close to the beach.”Popular spots such as The Black Pelican and Ocean Boulevard have been slammed by these storms.
Uncertainty about the future is likely affecting investment decisions as far west as U.S. 158, which is also increasingly subject to flooding as the beach continues to disappear and wave energy is not absorbed until it reaches the Beach Road.
Whether the answer lies in beach nourishment, the relocation of the Beach Road, a change in the state’s position on offshore storm abatement structures — or some combination of all three — we leave to others to decide.But a basic rule of economics is that uncertainty causes more economic damage than onerous regulations and even taxes. Investors may not like rules and taxes, but they and the market can adapt.
But no business can adapt to uncertainty or silence — and Kitty Hawk has been silent about the situation along their oceanfront for too long.We are encouraged by the recent discussions on the Planning Board.Our hope is those discussions continue and advance to the Town Council and public meetings and hearings.