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Nags Head OKs Beach Nourishment Project

Crews work on the beach off Nags Head in June 2019. photo: Mere Crockett

Reprinted from OBX Today

Nags Head leaders approved during its meeting Wednesday moving forward with a nearly $14 million beach nourishment project for south Nags Head to replace sand lost during the 2019 Hurricane Dorian that they hope can take place along with other beach widening efforts in Dare County planned for 2022.

Commissioners also began the process of creating a new set of special property tax districts to help pay for future beach nourishment work.

The project proposed for 2022 will place about 567,000 cubic yards of sand on 4.45 miles from about Jennette’s Pier near mile post 16 to the Cape Hatteras National Seashore border at mile post 21.

The estimated $13,952,137 project will be funded by a FEMA/North Carolina disaster assistance grant of $12,063,269, a state Department of Environmental Quality, Division of Water Resources Coastal Storm Damage Mitigation grant of $1,408,247, and a contribution of $480,480 from the Nags Head beach nourishment capital reserve.

“We’re grateful to both the State of North Carolina and the Federal Emergency Management Agency for their generous grants to replace sand lost during 2019’s Hurricane Dorian,” said Nags Head Mayor Ben Cahoon. “Because the sand loss per linear-foot in the south end of town was so much greater than what occurred north of Jennette’s Pier, the hurricane restoration project will focus on that area.”

Contractors completed Nags Head’s second beach nourishment project just a few weeks before Dorian struck the Outer Banks Sept. 6, 2019.

Widening of the beaches of Duck, Southern Shores, Kitty Hawk, Kill Devil Hills and Avon are also in the planning stages by the towns and Dare County for the spring and summer of 2022, with an estimated total cost of all the projects of around $90 million.

The dates for the project is dependent on the county and towns finding a dredging contractor available at the price they can afford.

Also during the meeting last Wednesday, Nags Head commissioners agreed to start the process of creating four additional municipal service taxing districts related to beach nourishment. A municipal service district, or MSD, is a defined area within a town where additional property tax is levied to provide projects or extra services that benefit the properties in that district.

Before 2011’s initial beach nourishment project, the town established two oceanside municipal service districts to generate revenue for the project. The overall town-wide tax rate also was increased, Cahoon said, adding that the board feels the town would benefit from a more sustainable and proportional funding plan.

The four new MSDs would be all properties east of US 158/S. Croatan Highway from Bonnett Street south to Gulfstream Street; all properties south of Gulfstream Street to Nags Head’s southern town limits; all properties east of US 158/S. Croatan Highway from Eighth Street south to Bonnett Street; and all properties east of N.C. 12/South Virginia Dare Trail from Eighth Street south to Bonnett Street.

The current  MSDs  are all properties east of N.C. 12/South Virginia Dare Trail from Bonnett Street south to Gulfstream Street and all properties east of N.C. 1243/South Old Oregon Inlet Road from Gulfstream Street south to Nags Head’s southern town limits.

“The supplementary revenue from the new tax formula will build up the town’s beach nourishment fund balance to support future projects and provide more stability for future tax rates,” Cahoon said.

The town noted in a press release that to include a property within a municipal service district, the project or services delivered must be provided within the MSD boundaries, therefore all properties east of N.C. 12/South Virginia Dare Trail and N.C. 1243/South Old Oregon Inlet Road will be included in two municipal service districts. Additionally, Commissioners haven’t discussed tax rates but additional MSDs are being put into place to give the Town more flexibility for future beach nourishment activities.

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