Local News

FEMA Paying $3 Million To Save Kure Beach Condo Complex

Posted August 5, 2004

— Oceanfront property for The Riggings condo complex has become more ocean than property. Sandbags and hope have been holding it up for two decades. Now, the Kure Beach residents are getting federal money to demolish and rebuild across the street. However, some question whether it is a good investment.

"We just kind of feel like we're getting what's due to us. We pay our tax dollars, too," resident Dina Goodson said.

"FEMA made the decision that it's cheaper in the long-run to remove it out of harm's way than to have us pay four and five times the amount every time they get hit by a storm," said state Rep. Mike McIntyre.

McIntyre considered the decision as a savings. Experts on erosion also share that assessment.

"I'm not happy with paying federal tax dollars, but I am very happy for this solution," geologist Orrin Pilkey said.

Pilkey said the early 80s construction of The Riggings condo complex pre-dates stricter laws.

"It was easier in those days to build in stupid places," he said.

Pilkey said this case is a bit unique. The complex is literally stuck between a rock and a hard place. It sits on a stretch of beach that faced major erosion when an old rock wall collapsed.

Some experts believe the new one built to protect Fort Fisher adds to the problem. Plus, the site could not receive beach renourishment because of an environmental issue.

"They're protecting their homes. They're protecting the fort and in-between, we caught in the middle with nothing," Goodson said.

A Washington-based watchdog group called "Taxpayers for Common Sense" has come out against the project. A representative said he supports the relocation project, but he does not feel the complex will be far enough away from the ocean. Residents have three years to complete the project.

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