Local News

Buxton residents beg for sand, security

Posted May 18, 2014

— 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.


This story is closed for comments.

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  • Arthur Raleigh May 22, 2014
    user avatar

    You are on a moving island and my taxes should not pay for your lifestyle!

  • dennis8 May 19, 2014

    View quoted thread

    It is a sand bar in the ocean. At this point it is costing more to keep people living there than the state makes in taxes. In the not too distant future these smaller strips will be gone and this argument will be moot.

  • Mannin Black May 19, 2014
    user avatar

    View quoted thread

    I would like to add that snow melts. It is a temporary problem that will solve itself when it warms up. Totally different than a sandbar.

  • Ronnie Reams May 19, 2014
    user avatar

    Snow removal is a waste in NC most of the time. Give it a day or two and Mother Nature takes care of it for free. Folks think they are gonna be snowed in for month every time Greg mentions snow, reality is maybe only snowed in for 16-24 hours and then it is mostly all gone!

  • RAA0013 May 19, 2014

    If you want the tax money that benefits all of NC, you need to provide the sand. That area is a HUGE tourist destination that brings in more money in tax dollars than most of the towns the people commenting here live in. Not to mention the history out there we should want to preserve for future generations. The "if it doesn't benefit me directly the money shouldn't be spent" attitude has got to go. The residents of Buxton are North Carolinians as much as any of us are so we should support them.

  • tpwright May 19, 2014

    I feel the state needs to have a discussion and develop long term plans for what to do when land disappears. Not just at the outer banks, but all through the state. If a mountain side collapse causes the destruction of land, what obligation should the state have? If there continual flooding in an area that renders the land now unlivable, what recourse do the residents have? This discussion needs to happen before the disaster and the results should be delivered to the residents so that everyone knows what will happen if their land is rendered unusable.

  • btneast May 19, 2014

    [bSnow removal is paid for by counties and cities][/b]
    All of those DOT employees that drive the DOT equipment that salts and scrapes might disagree with you. Yes, some cities have some snow removal equipment, but for the most part, the STATE does it.

    the big rock slides are on the Interstates which can are are used by everyone if they want to get anywhere So I guess going to the coast is going nowhere, but going west is somewhere?

    [bThen lets see the business case......][/b] Google is your friend....it took me to NC Dept of Commerce website that expounds on it pretty well. There are many others. Tourism is not a sideline industry in NC....it brings in billions in revenue. I agree on not letting it get out of hand like Myrtle Beach, but to not do what you can to keep the area a tourist destination is being penny wise and pound foolish.

  • Grand Union May 19, 2014

    View quoted thread

    Snow removal is paid for by counties and cities..............Cities like Raleigh etc pay far more taxes for roads than they have roads so likely pay more than their fair share for "Fortify" and the big rock slides are on the Interstates which can are are used by everyone if they want to get anywhere.

    "Ultimately, NC keeps those routes open because it benefits the state financially to do so."

    Then lets see the business case......we would still have lots of beach milage accessable by road without counting the outerbanks and lots of islands manage just fine with ferries....

  • dennis8 May 19, 2014

    This is a sand bar in the ocean. We should not be paying to subsidize any construction built on this sand. I would add that these folks should be paying the real cost of living and having businesses there. That would include the true cost of flood insurance.

  • sandtaxedenoughalready May 19, 2014

    The story also failed to mention that this is the area of the inlet that formed after Hurricane Isabel that the DOT filled in. Of course the island is skinny here and going to blow out again. Piling sand on the area won't change that. All of the current arguements about how we need to keep oregon inlet open for the health of the sounds applied when this inlet was created, on the location of a historical inlet, yet it was filled and paved?