January 20, 2008

Bagging the sandbags

Fresh evidence from last week's Coastal Resources Commission meeting that the state is serious about ending the use of sandbags to protect erosion threatened buildings. The N&O reports that the group denied an extension to the owners of an embattled condo project in Kure Beach

"State regulators say a Kure Beach condominium complex cannot keep the sandbags it has used to protect from erosion for more than two decades.

The Coastal Resources Commission rejected the sandbag request Thursday. The same panel had previously set a May 2008 deadline to remove the sandbags that protect homes, hotels and roads along North Carolina's coast."
The Riggings Condos have fought erosion for many years. The owners have been given a lot of time and aid in their fight to save the project. They have squandered it by not moving the building when the had the chance. You can get a good summary of fight in this editorial from the Wilmington Star News. Botton line when you get chance to move an erosion threatened structure DO IT!
WRAL (Raleigh Tv station) has a web article and a longer video piece on the sandbag issue. I am not sure I understand Yogi Harper's analogy about NASCAR racing.
"It's like running the Daytona 500," Harper said. "Everybody lines up at the beginning, and they run 450 miles in forward. Then they put it in reverse and run the last 50 in reverse."
The bags are coming out and the homes will follow. The legal fight will start soon but I don't expect the property owners to prevail. Sandbags have always been seen as a transitional measure to a nourished beach. With no nourishment project in sight the bags must go. I support the state's position if we aren't going to nourish then we can't build hard structures to protect homes indefinitely. If we do there will be no beach.
The state's position on sandbags poses an interesting contrast to the direction the state seems to be headed on building setbacks on nourished beaches with little erosion. The staff has increased the size of the structure that would be allowed in front of the presnourishment setback line. The Star-News has some of the details. When I find the full proposal on the CRC web site I may post a full discussion but the contrast of no sandbags but building in areas that have be nourished is pretty striking.
Note: When sandbags are removed will flood insurance pay claims when the ocean claims the structures? Should it?


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