Shell Island Residents Achieve Victory
Posted January 24, 1997 12:00 a.m. EST
ATLANTIC BEACH, NC — The Coastal Resource Commission agreed Friday to allow Shell Island Resort homeowners build an emergency sandbag wall to keep back the approaching Mason Inlet. Many hope this is the first step toward a permanent solution their problems.
When the resort was build 11 years ago, the Mason Inlet was half-a-mile away. Now, only 16 feet of sand separate the buildings from the water.
Resort attorney Susan McDaniel says something had to be done quickly.
This was the third time homeowners had requested permission to erect the wall from the commission. It will measure more than 50 feet long and 16 feet tall, though most of it will be underground. It will only be allowed to remain for two years.
In spite of that, most property owners are glad to be given this much. Homeowner Dennis Naugle says he knows the decision didn't come easily for the CRC.
There are other conditions. Homeowners will be required to look at how the inlet itself reacts to the change. They understand that any time you push water away from land, odds are it will return just as hard somewhere else.
Todd Miller of the North Carolina Coastal Federation says that has some environmentalists concerned.
Property owners will have to destroy the wall if it creates any problems. Still, they say it's their best chance to save protect their investments and get started on fixing the problem. Next, the homeowners want to dredge the inlet itself in hopes that that will draw it away from the building's foundation.
The sandbag wall should be up in about three weeks.