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Growing threat from erosion, storms too much for North Carolina oceanfront properties to handle

Home falls into ocean along North Carolina coast

Posted on October 25, 2023

East Beacon Road is a street that many may not have heard of, but to residents in eastern North Carolina, it is the latest front in the battle against rising seas and changing terrain.

Numerous homes on the Outer Banks have collapsed into the Atlantic Ocean over the past several years, but a National Park Service program aims to stem the tide of destruction caused by massive storms.

Recently, in coordination with the Land and Water Conservation Fund, two oceanfront homes were purchased to the tune of more than $700,000, and instead of trying to sublease the properties, they’ll be demolished.

The planned demolition will occur on the NPS’ timeline instead of being subject to Mother Nature.

Recent hurricanes such as Florence, Matthew and Dorian have weakened natural defenses, which has led to just about any weather phenomenon causing big trouble on the barrier islands.

The destruction of homes has resulted in debris covering beaches, the loss of habitats for coastal species and the loss of people’s cherished possessions.

With a controlled demolition, the NPS hopes to minimize disruptions to wildlife and beachgoers at the Cape Hatteras National Seashore. Eventually, the lots will be open for the public to enjoy.

Houses in Rodanthe, North Carolina, face the threats of oceans.

Park rangers did not say if any additional homes are on the radar for purchase, but at least five nearby residences weren’t as fortunate and collapsed before a deal was reached with homeowners.

Similar programs are underway in Florida to help abandon properties where county expenditures to keep ocean water away from homes are cost-prohibitive.

St. Johns County recently received $5 million from the state for what is known as the Summer Haven Managed Retreat Program.

Much like the portions of the Outer Banks, some homes in the Summer Haven community in Northeast Florida are continually threatened by erosion and storms such as nor’easters and hurricanes.

The county says once homeowners agree to sell their properties at a fair market value, the reclaimed land will be turned into a preserve.


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