State officials want beach management in coastal communities modeled after Carteret County

State officials are looking to encourage coastal communities to develop beach management plans similar to the one used in Carteret County along Bogue Banks. (News-Times photo)

BOGUE BANKS — Bogue Banks towns are still exempt from state oceanfront development setback rules, and proposed rules are in the works to encourage other coastal communities to follow their example.

The N.C. Coastal Resources Commission met online via WebEx Wednesday and the commission unanimously approved, with four separate motions, renewing static line exception for Emerald Isle, Indian Beach/Salter Path, Pine Knoll Shores and Atlantic Beach.

The exception allows development projects on oceanfront lots in these towns to measure their setbacks from the existing first line of stable and natural vegetation. Without this exception, the setbacks are measured from a vegetation line set prior to any beach nourishment, which can allow vegetation to spread oceanward.

N.C. Division of Coastal Management Shoreline Management Specialist Ken Richardson gave a presentation to the council on the requested renewals.

“Not all lengths (of shoreline) along Bogue Banks are created equal,” he said. “The towns have agreed to a phased static line exception process… Volumetric triggers have been established to determine when maintenance projects are needed.”

The CRC praised Carteret County officials, in particular County Shore Protection Manager Greg Rudolph, and Bogue Banks town officials for their comprehensive plans to keep beaches maintained and nourished. In fact, DCM staff and the CRC are impressed enough they’re considering using the county as a model for other coastal communities in North Carolina.

DCM Deputy Director Mike Lopazanski discussed with the CRC proposed rule changes to create criteria for approving beach management plans for coastal governments. These changes would replace the existing static line exception and development lines. Plan approval would grant the same oceanfront setback flexibility to local governments that create plans for beach nourishment and maintenance similar to those used in Carteret County.

“The Bogue Banks Master Plan is a good example of what the beach management plans could look like (elsewhere),” said Mr. Lopazanski in an email to the News-Times. “We’ve been citing what the Bogue Banks communities are doing as an example for other areas of the coast.” 

He said at Wednesday’s meeting the proposed plan approval process would closely follow the existing static line exception process.

“We’d also like these plans to include, to a greater degree, specific funding sources,” he said. “These aren’t particularly onerous requirements…it demonstrates local governments’ commitment to maintaining their beaches.”

The proposed plan rules would also extend oceanfront structure replacement grandfathering to include all non-conforming oceanfront structures up to 10,000 square feet. Existing rules limit this to single-family residential, duplex residential, multifamily residential and commercial structures up to 10,000 square feet built prior to August 2009.

“We’d like to remove the distinction between residential and commercial structures and focus on size,” Mr. Lopazanski said.

The proposed rule changes would also rename the static vegetation line to the pre-project vegetation line to reflect the CRC’s encouragement of beach nourishment and maintenance.

While the management plan rules are being developed, DCM staff proposes creating some placeholder rules. During Wednesday’s meeting, the CRC unanimously approved the fiscal analysis for proposed amendments that would only allow certain accessory structures to be built oceanward of a development line or a static line exception.

The proposed amendments and their fiscal analysis now go to a public comment period. DCM Director Braxton Davis said these amendments, if approved at the CRC meeting in February, would serve as placeholders until the commission comes to a decision on whether or not to create a plan approval process.


Contact Mike Shutak at 252-723-7353, email; or follow on Twitter at @mikesccnt.

(4) comments


These projects are a massive waste of taxpayer money and represent an egregious example of welfare for the rich. Take the cost of one of these projects and divide it by the number of houses on that stratch of beach and be prepared to be amazed. I did this for a section of beach in carteret county and came up with 50 thousand dollars per house per nourishment project. And most of these houses have benefited from multiple such projects over the last decade. Folks, it would be cheaper to just buy these houses and bulldoze them. This is stulid.

Pat McElraft

The Bogue Banks Beach preservation/ nourishment project is funded mostly by the four beach towns and by the tourists with occupancy tax dollars. As most know we tried to get county wide funding if 1 or 2 cents two decades ago but it was voted down by the county. Therefore the beach towns taxed the front row homes at a much higher tax than the three cents on the rest of the homes on the island and it was the best money Bogue Banks ever spent. The beaches became wide and healthy and the tourists came in droves bringing the county lots of sales taxes and occupancy tax. Without healthy beaches tourism would not be the golden egg it is for our county and state. We are blessed to have Rudi, Greg Rudolph, as our shore protection officer. He is heavily recruited by other beach counties for his knowledge of building and restoring beaches. The best investment Carteret County has.


Thanks for info Pat! Hope your recovery is going well.

Hopefully a sales tax increase will happen next go around. I feel it's one of those necessary evils that we need.

-- From an AB resident and conservative voter.

David Collins

Stability on a beach ? Really , ha , ha , ha . If that were so then you would not need to waste tons of money yearly on a fools mission . Y’all been doing it for so long now that it is just taken for granted that it is the thing to do . Necessary evil my but . You could quit this nonsense today and 10 years , no , a hundred years could go by and the beach will still be there . Y’all think this beach thing just started when Columbus stumbled onto America ? Think again .

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