Local News

Sandbag sites being evaluated on coast

Posted July 25, 2008 4:38 p.m. EDT
Updated July 25, 2008 8:42 p.m. EDT

— The Division of Coastal Management announced on Friday it is finalizing a list of high-priority sandbag sites.

The list also ranks sandbag sites that need to be cleaned up, which will have some coastal homeowners being notified to remove their protective sandbags.

Coastal Management field representative John Cece has been documenting thousands of sandbags protecting property on the coast.

“It’s challenging. … We have 110 sites,” Cece said.

Many sandbag sites are in Dare County, where years of hurricanes have pummeled the shore and homeowners have been using sandbags to try to keep the sea at bay.

Cece said the oldest sandbags he saw were from 1992. Sandbags were supposed to be temporary, lasting two to five years at most. The state now plans to send letters telling some homeowners to remove the bags.

“I don't think that they're going to be received well, and I think the end result is yet to be seen on that,” Ocean Isle Beach Mayor Debbie Smith said.

The state Division of Coastal Management has made a map and database and is determining the sandbag sites that need to be cleaned up first.

“We have a number of bags that have fallen off the authorized alignment. They're out here on the beach, tumbling on the beach; some of the bags are torn,” Cece said.

Smith said she doesn’t think anyone wants a “wall blocking our beaches,” but some reasonable measures need to exist to protect the shoreline.

“If the regulations authorized development, we're required to issue citizens the permit, so people can still legally obtain permits for sandbags,” Cece said.

Homeowners will have 30 days to comply. Once the initial notices are mailed out, the state will start sending notices to the rest of the homeowner who are in violation.