Dare County commissioners agreed earlier this month to allocate up to $250,000 from the county’s beach nourishment fund to pay for a study of a proposed beach renourishment project in Avon, the Island Free Press reported.
The action followed a similar request for study-related funds from Southern Shores, which is also considering a beach renourishment project.
“As you know, down in Avon, they’ve been asking us for a long time for some kind of funds to do a study to figure out what it would cost to do a beach nourishment project,” said County Manager Bobby Outten at the commissioners meeting. “We said we didn’t want to do that just yet, because we didn’t know when or if we would have money to do a project.”
But Southern Shores is moving forward in earnest, Outten said. “So at some point, we have to figure out what we can do, and when we can do it – for either or both entities.”
The study would target the general Ocean View Drive area of Avon, a roughly 2-mile stretch that has been subjected to regular ocean overwash during recent nor’easters and storms. When these storms occur, overwash pours onto Ocean View Drive and then inundates N.C. 12. Advocates contend that the project could be a possible solution, but there are unknowns for a potential Avon project, including funding.
The county beach nourishment fund is supported by a portion of the 6% county occupancy tax on visitor accommodations and money for beach nourishment also come from property and municipal service district taxes.
The amount in the fund fluctuates based on current projects and visitor numbers, and with no beach nourishment projects currently slated for 2020, some said it was an opportune time to dip into the fund to pay for the Avon and Southern Shores studies. But the cost of studies is well below the price tag for pumping sand on the beach.
“The cost of beach nourishment is essentially $10 million per mile, and if Avon is done fully, we are looking at a $20 million dollar project,” said Couch. “My concern is the ability of Avon to pay their share.”
This story is provided courtesy of the Island Free Press, a digital newspaper covering Hatteras and Ocracoke islands. Coastal Review Online is partnering with the Island Free Press to provide readers with more environmental and lifestyle stories of interest along our coast. You can read other stories about Hatteras and Ocracoke here.