Local News

Coastal Hurricane Damaged Assessed

Posted January 22, 1997 12:00 a.m. EST

— Members of the Coastal Resource Commission toured Topsail Island Wednesday. They're trying to determine the extent of rebuilding that's occurred since two hurricanes wreaked havoc there in 1996, and make some decisions about what is still needed on the storm ravaged coastal island.

Hurricanes Bertha and Fran changed the island forever. Many areas haven't recovered at all. Now it's time for a lengthy rebuilding process to be guided by a group of men and women ........

One of the top priorities is to try and recreate a wall of protective sand dunes.

Commissioner Bob Emory says there was a lot of damage in that area.

The Coastal Resource Commission must also decide where to put a new line of vegetation to protect the new dunes. Commission Chairman Jim Tomlinson says placement is crucial.

The placement of dunes and vegetation could affect private property owners who lost or gained land when the hurricanes reshaped the beach. Property lines are a thing of the past in some areas.

The Army Corps of Engineers is already pumping sand from the sound to replace lost beaches.

Assistant Preston Pate says further rebuilding has to be carefully planned.

Members of the commission hope Wednesday's visit to the beach will lead to more successful solutions to repair the island.

The question over property rights and where the vegetation and dunes will be placed is worth watching. A South Carolina property owner sued the commission there after they tried to place vegetation on his property.