Carolina Beach Adopts Resolution Supporting Change In Coastal Setback Lines For Construction

Carolina Beach Adopts Resolution Supporting Change In Coastal Setback Lines For Construction Featured

By / Local News / Wednesday, 17 December 2014 05:00

By WILLARD KILLOUGH III
Managing Editor

CAROLINA BEACH - The Carolina Beach Town Council unanimously adopted a resolution at their December 9th, meeting in support of new rules under consideration by the State Coastal Resources Commission regarding a "development line option" for Town's that have an active beach nourishment plan in place.
Currently structures that have a footprint of 5,000 square feet or less have to be built west of a 60' setback line that is measured from a static-vegetation line in the dune system. Structures with a footprint larger than 5,000 square feet must be built behind a 120' setback line.
The proposal is to eliminate those multiple setback lines and establish a single "development line" for developments of all types and size.
Assistant Town Manager Ed Parvin explained the Coastal Resources Commission will meet on December 17th and 18th and, "They are looking at eliminating how our CAMA (Coastal Area Management Act) lines work now and considering allowing communities along the North Carolina coast to establish our own development line and eliminating our static line. We will go back to having a first line of stable vegetation and they will measure back 60' feet to ensure that whichever one is more restrictive should apply."
Parvin used a 12-unit condo building at 409 Carolina Beach Avenue South that was destroyed by fire on December 6th as an example.
Parvin explained, "Under the current CAMA regulations, how it lays with the CAMA lines, it cannot be rebuilt. It is over 5,000 square feet."
In order to be permitted for reconstruction, the building would now have to be located west of the 120' setback line which runs along Carolina Beach Avenue South basically preventing the same or similar size structure from being rebuilt.
Two buildings with footprints smaller than 5,000 square feet could be built on the property.
Parvin explained, "Doesn't matter how they were destroyed whether they demolished it, it was by fire, under CAMA rules they could not build back" and the proposed changes to state regulations, "Would eliminate that allowance for the 5,000 square foot rule and the Town would have the flexibility to develop their own standards behind their own line."
Any new structures could not be located seaward of the Town’s “development line”, and would still be required to meet a setback from the actual first line of stable and natural vegetation (not the “static line”) that is greater than or equal to 30 times the annual erosion rate (60 ft. setback in most areas of Carolina Beach). So the more restrictive of the two lines would apply.
There would be no additional State limitations on the size or placement of new oceanfront structures, and the “development line” option could restore conforming status for many oceanfront structures and vacant oceanfront lots in Carolina Beach.
Many condo buildings constructed in the 1980's are "non-conforming" and if destroyed for any reason would not be permitted under state coastal regulations to rebuild due to the 5,000 square foot rule governing the size of a building footprint. The CRC will again consider the issue at its December 17-18 meeting, and the Town is hopeful that the Coastal Resources Commission (CRC) will embrace the approach and begin the formal rulemaking process soon thereafter. It is likely that any amendments to CRC rules will take several months. Officials say the change is likely to occur.
The Council unanimously adopted the resolution.
Part of the resolution states, "The oceanfront in Carolina Beach are subject to a “static line” for the purpose of determining oceanfront setbacks, and the Town was granted a “static line exception” on September 09, 2009" and, "The “static line exception” is helpful to many existing structures and lots in Carolina Beach and other oceanfront municipalities, but still results in non-conformity or limited development and redevelopment options for some properties."
The resolution also supports applying the change to both nourished and non-nourished beaches.

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