SUNSET BEACH — The N.C. Division of Coastal Management will allow more time for public comment on a developer’s application to build an oceanfront housing development with a private access bridge in an area here that was once an inlet.
Interested parties now have until Oct. 7 to comment on the proposed Sunset Beach West project. A copy of the application may be examined or copied during normal business hours at the office of Holley Snider, N.C. Dept. of Environment and Natural Resources, Division of Coastal Management, 127 Cardinal Drive Extension in Wilmington. The phone number is 910-796-7270.
According to the application dated Aug. 7, a company called Sunset Beach West LLC proposes to develop a 21-lot subdivision with a bulkhead, wooden access bridge and amenities at the west end of Main Street, adjacent to Salt Boiler Creek on what was formerly Mad Inlet in Sunset Beach in Brunswick County.
Mad Inlet filled in during the early 1990s but remained designated as an “inlet hazard area” under the Coastal Area Management Act until the N.C. Coastal Resources Commission removed the designation in 2014. The land remains an “area of environmental concern.”
A public notice for the proposed project was published Aug. 27 in the Wilmington Star News with a deadline for comments set for Sept. 17. However, state law allows the division to issue more than one public notice for a proposed permit application. Representatives of the N.C. Coastal Federation requested the comment period extension and officials agreed to the request.
“In this case, in considering the complexity of the proposed project, we have agreed that the issuance of a second public notice is appropriate,” Braxton Davis, the division director, said in his response, adding that comments received after the public notice end date up until the date of a final decision on the permit application will be considered.
Mike Giles, a coastal advocate with the federation, noted in his request that the proposed development is adjacent to the Bird Island Estuarine Preserve and subject to regulation under the Coastal Barrier Resources Act of 1982, or CBRA, which restricts federal expenditures that encourage development, such as national flood insurance.
Comments may be mailed to Braxton Davis at the Division of Coastal Management, 400 Commerce Ave. in Morehead City, and will be considered in making the permit decision. Later comments will be accepted and considered up to the time of permit decision. Officials said project changes may occur based on review and comments by the public and state and federal agencies.