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 email@example.com; or follow on Twitter at @mikesccnt.