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Coastal Hurricane Damaged Assessed

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NORTH TOPSAIL — Members of the Coastal ResourceCommission toured Topsail Island Wednesday. They're trying to determinethe extent of rebuilding that's occurred since two hurricanes wreakedhavoc there in 1996, and make some decisionsabout what is still needed on the storm ravaged coastal island.

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

One of the top priorities is to try and recreate a wall of protectivesand 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 newline of vegetation to protect the new dunes. Commission Chairman JimTomlinson says placement is crucial.

The placement of dunes and vegetation could affect private propertyowners 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 toreplace lost beaches.

Assistant Preston Pate says further rebuilding has to be carefullyplanned.

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

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

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