The North Carolina Coastal Resources Commission is set to to hear a variance request from Carolina Beach to continue placing mats for wheelchair access to the beach.
The CRC is slated to meet by video conference at 9 a.m. Thursday, Feb. 18. The public can join the meeting online or by calling 1-415-655-0003. The event number is 178 262 0970 and the password is 1234.
Carolina Beach, through the nonprofit Ocean Cure Inc., has since 2017 installed beach mats in the summer months that allow wheelchair access along and across the dry sand beach. The beach mats connect to existing Americans with Disabilities Act-compliant ramps that provide access from the town’s existing wooden boardwalk.
In July 2020, the state Division of Coastal Management sent an enforcement letter to the town stating that the beach mats were considered “development” within the Ocean Hazard area of environmental concern, and were placed without authorization under the Coastal Area Management Act. The town filed a CAMA minor permit application in September seeking authorization to continue placing the about 2,958 square feet of beach mats each May through September, according to division documents.
The division denied the permit application in October because of two rules that require the beach mats to be placed behind the development line, behind the oceanfront setback, and behind a line 6 feet seaward of the waterward toe of the frontal dune. The town is now asking for a variance in order to continue placing the beach mats as proposed in its permit application.
Other items on the agenda include the following:
- Proposed amendments to rules related to Oceanfront Development and Beach Management Plans; additional comments related to Inlet Hazard Area Boundaries; and Inlet Hazard Areas – Proposed Used Standards.
- Vote on adoption of 15A NCAC 7H .0312 Technical Standards for Beach Fill Projects.
- Vote on adoption 15A NCAC 7H .0304 Designation of Unvegetated Beach AEC Oak Island.
- Vote on consideration of an amendment to the Town of Kure Beach Development Line.
- Rulemaking recommendations regarding Repair vs. Replace – Elevating Structures and Fiscal Analysis of 15A NCAC 7J .0403 Development Period/7J .0404 Development Period Extension.
A full meeting agenda and related materials are on the CRC website. Times indicated on the agenda for individual items are subject to change.
Written comments by emailed before the meeting to Angela Willis at firstname.lastname@example.org. Write “PUBLIC COMMENT” in the subject line.