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FEMA Emergency Dune Restoration Project
April 18, 2017 update: Click here to see a copy of the engineer’s presentation given during the April 18 Council meeting. The Contractor working on the dune restoration project is currently working from the 55th Place East access, heading west at approximately 500 feet per day. We hope to complete between 55th and 52nd Wednesday and complete 52nd to 49th Friday. They will be working this Saturday in the area of Cabanas, heading west toward 46th, and should finish up to 46th by Tuesday of next week (April 25). They will open up the street accesses after they move away from them one at a time – the 58th East access should be opened by Wednesday (April 19). They will be placing foot traffic crossovers every 180 feet, like we had before. They will also be using post and rope to identify these crossovers. Planting of constructed dunes should start the last week in April. Please stay clear of the areas where crews are working – our shoreline is miles long so there are still plenty of open accesses. Thank you for your patience as we make these much-needed dune repairs!
FAQ for the FEMA Emergency Dune Restoration Project – Updated April 4, 2017
- What is this project going to do? The project will work under FEMA guidelines to replace sand for emergency dune restoration – 6 cubic yards of sand per linear foot above the 5-year storm level. The dunes will average 6 feet in height, depending on the elevation, and at the base, they will average 40 feet across.
- When will work begin? The contractor plans to start next week, or possibly late this week. The project window closes April 30 (because of turtle season), and we’ll have to pick it back up in November.
- Where will they start? The plan is to start at the east end of the project area, near SE 58th Street, and work westward to hopefully 35th or 32nd Place East, depending on the number of days we can get in.
- If I already put a dune back, how will my dune/my property be affected? We completely understand that you want to take measures to protect your property. In turn, we ask that you understand that it has taken a lot of work and time to get to the point of having this project approved by FEMA. If the dune you have or recently built does not meet the maximum allowed in the FEMA project, you’ll get more sand. The goal is to have a line of dunes of similar size down as much of the beach as we can.
- What about my sand fence/dune vegetation? If you have sand fencing, that will have to be removed in order for the contractor to add to the dune. We know this is an inconvenience, but we hope you understand that it is necessary. We appreciate all the work beachfront property owners have done to rebuild dunes and plant vegetation – if we can add sand to the dunes, we will do that and add new plants as well.
- How will we be getting this sand? This project is a truck-haul project. We are not pushing up sand that is already there – we are bringing in new sand. It will take many, many dump trucks to bring in the amount of sand we’re getting. Trucks will enter and exit the beach at designated beach accesses, and we’ll likely close the couple of accesses where the contractor is working on a particular day. The colors of the new sand and the current beach won’t match exactly, and it will take time for the new sand to fade to a color more like we have now. The dunes being built will also taper down into the water, but the dunes are being built to what the FEMA guidelines allow.
- If my dune is larger than what the FEMA guidelines allow, will sand be removed from it? Absolutely not! We share your desire to have as large a dune as possible/practical. This project does include a specific amount of sand that can be put on the beach, but that is just to determine what the Town will be reimbursed for. If we build dunes under the FEMA guidelines during this project, we will get reimbursed for almost all of the cost. But it is the North Carolina Division of Coastal Management, which enforces the Coastal Area Management Act (CAMA), that regulates how much sand can be put on the beach and where it can be placed. As long as you built your dune with a CAMA permit and met those guidelines, the Town will honor that.
- What if I didn’t get a letter to sign an easement? There are some areas that easements are not required. We sent out more than 300 easements, and many people have already responded positively – we are very grateful for your cooperation. If we didn’t get an easement we need for a property in this first round of letters, we will follow up with an additional letter, and possibly court action, though we’ll use that only as a last resort. We’d like for everyone to voluntarily grant the easements as requested, but we will seek court intervention if necessary.
- How much will this cost me? The FEMA Emergency Dune Restoration Project will be mostly paid for through federal tax dollars. The minimal expenses for the Town will come out of the General Fund Reserve. There will not be any additional taxes or assessments for this project.