Buxton residents beg for sand, security
Posted May 18, 2014
Buxton, N.C. — Just north of Buxton on North Carolina's Outer banks, state Highway 12 sits on a skinny strip of sand separating the sound from the sea. And between erosion, wind and hurricanes, that strip of sand is getting thinner.
"This is a very weak and very vulnerable area for an inlet," says Carol Dawson.
She is a Buxton resident, hotel owner and photographer with a keen interest in stabilizing the effects of Mother Nature. But her fight has an equally ominous foe: the federal government.
Dawson is among those pressing for a state of emergency so that Dare County can expedite beach re-nourishment plans.
Dare County Commissioner Warren Judge says that plan requires permits, and before they can get permits, they have to get permission.
"In any beach nourishment, you've got to get an easement from the property owner," Judge explained. "And in Buxton's case, that owner is the National Park Service.
The process could take years, Judge said, with no work until perhaps 2017.
Dawson worries that the community can't wait that long. Every hurricane season brings the risk of being cut off from the mainland again.
"Irene closed us, Sandy closed us, and last year our bridge closed for safety reasons. You can't recover from that," she said. "It's time. We need sand."
Judge asks that residents trust the process.
"The folks that live here, they have got to know and understand the steps we are taking," he said.
Dare County has completed a study of the area. The state Department of Transportation is working on another area of re-nourishment just north of Buxton, in Rodanthe.