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Avon beach nourishment meeting set

Dare County Board of Commissioners has formally announced a public meeting on Avon beach nourishment, to be held virtually Wednesday, Feb. 24, 2021 starting at 6 p.m.

During the meeting, a presentation of the Avon Beach Nourishment Project will be provided. The board will give property owners an opportunity to share their input. The virtual meeting will be available for viewing online at youtube.com/darecounty.

Comments or questions about the project may be emailed to DareCountyPR@DareNC.com prior to Feb. 24. Use “Avon Beach Nourishment” in the subject line.

To participate in the meeting, register online at DareNC.com/AvonBN, which is also the project’s information page on the county’s website. The project’s webpage provides answers to frequently asked questions about the proposed beach nourishment project.

Those registering will receive a response that confirms registration and provides information about how to access the virtual meeting.

In addition to the formal public meeting announcement, Dare County manager Robert L. “Bobby” Outten has mailed a two-page letter to all property owners in Avon.

The letter opens with a description of a two-year effort to find a solution to the accelerated erosion rate for the village’s beaches and dunes. That erosion allows Atlantic Ocean water to sweep under oceanfront houses on Ocean View Drive and under houses on the other side of the road to swamp NC 12 with ocean water. This happens in named and un-named storms.

Outten reports that two years ago a group from Avon sought help.

As a result, Dare’s Board of Commissioners paid Coastal Science and Engineering to study Avon and make recommendations to solve the problem.

While the study was conducted, Dare County and people from Avon sought state funding unsuccessfully.

Dare’s Beach Nourishment Fund, funded with proceeds from a 2% occupancy tax, has about $8.5 million available, enough to cover the county share of the incorporated towns’ maintenance projects.

Outten’s letter explains how funds can come to the Beach Nourishment Fund for the county’s portion of funding for Avon’s project.

“Even with these funds, the Avon project cannot be done without additional revenue. This additional revenue must come from the taxpayers of Avon. There is no other source of funds,” states Outten’s letter.

Coastal Science and Engineering delivered its report dated November 2020.

A solution providing about five years of protection and beach restoration would require a million cubic yards of sand along 11,500 feet of Avon shoreline from the southern boundary of Avon to 3,000 feet north of the Avon Pier at Due East Road, states the report.

If the project stands by itself, the estimated cost is $14 million. If the Avon project can be bid with the Buxton maintenance project scheduled for 2022, the estimated cost is $11.3 million, states the report.

Outten describes the county’s funding proposal. “… the county proposes to tax the properties east of Highway 12 from Due East Road to Avon’s southern boundary line at a rate of 40 cents per $100 dollars in value (this is the area receiving the greatest benefit from the project) and to tax all remaining parcels in Avon at a rate of 10 cents per $100 dollars in value.”

The letter continues: “Examples of the impact of these taxes: for a parcel valued at $500,000 the 40 cents tax would be $2,000 per year. For a parcel valued at $500,000 the 10 cents would be $500 per year.”

These proposed tax rates will generate about 50% of the project cost. The Dare Beach Nourishment Fund will contribute 50%, which is “similar to the cost share used for projects in local towns where beach nourishment has occurred,” states Outten’s letter.

The letter acknowledges the large tax increase. “We have been unable to find another way. If there is going to a beach nourishment project in Avon, tax increases at the levels proposed above are the only way we can find to generate the funding – above what is available in the county’s Beach Nourishment Fund – necessary to build the project.”

Outten states “No final decision has been made.”

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