March 8, 2006

Interesting question

Ocean City Md.
Ocean City Md.
Ocean City Md.
An article in the Va. Pilot today recapping testimony yesteday by Prof. Stan Riggs before the NC Legislative Study Commission on Global Climate Change raises an interesting question. How much development is too much? Part of the strategy suggested by Riggs is to reduce the amount of development on North Caroina's barrier islands.
Riggs suggested that smarter, less-intense development is needed to protect the island chains.
“I don’t think for a second that we have to abandon the barrier islands,” he said. “If we want those barrier islands, we just can’t pack them solid.”
What does that mean? The photos to the left are one section the skyline in Ocean City Md. taken about 3 years ago. I don't know anyone who advocates this type of development for our area. In fact we have some of the least developed coastline along the eastern seaboard (in my informed opinion). Most of Dare County's beaches are developed in homes less than 35 ft tall. Yes recently some have become large in comparison to earlier development but they remain several orders of magnitude smaller than Ocean City, Va. Beach or Myrtle Beach, communities with economies the size of Dare County's. Whats more the overall density of development is substantially less as well not just building size. There is little true urban development on the Outer Banks as opposed the the denser communities listed above. It is ironic that that some coastal critics are calling for more urban style development to address water quality issues but that is a topic for another day.
What level of development is appropriate in the face of sea level change? How much value should be put at risk and who gets to make those choices? Right now local communities are making those decisions with substantial guidance from the Coastal Resources Commission (setbacks, AEC lot coverage requirements etc.) Is Riggs talking about Corrolla or Carolina Beach where lot coverage sometimes exceeds 100% (porches overhang the right of way)?
Personally, I don't think we are overly developed in Dare County. Yes, I would like to see less development and more open space but given the cost of either I am not unhappy with the current mix. We do need to be vigilent that we maintain the current scale anddon't move to another level of lot coverage or heigth. How much is too much? Pilkey say none, Riggs says some, what do you think?


At 4:46 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

" much development is too much..."
You poised this question two times.
And the answer is quite simple and it has been given thousands of times lately. The Outer Banks is "over-developed" when the residents and taxpayers of this area say so. And that is all we hear nowadays; yet, our elected officials in all six towns and the county just don't seem to get it.

At 6:02 AM, Blogger Bob Muller said...

What would you have them do? Use taxpayer money to buy up all the undeveloped land in Dare County? What steps should elected leaders take to combat over-development? If the voters elect people (as they have in Va. Beach and Ocean City) who support high density, high rise, urban style development on the ocean front is it OK.


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