Buxton beach, housing continue to be hot topics for Dare

Published 4:58 pm Tuesday, April 23, 2024

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Some hot issues are floating around Dare County Board of Commissioners.

On April 2, 2024, commissioners heard a presentation about Buxton Beach Access from David Hallac, superintendent of the National Parks of Eastern North Carolina.

A precautionary public health advisory was issued in September for two tenths of a mile of Buxton’s beach. On March 24, 2024, another tenth of a mile was added to the closure and another public health advisory was issued.

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Petroleum contaminated soil, ocean sheen, foundations of buildings, leftover septic field pipes and hunks of concrete continue to show up due to erosion.

The agency players are several: the National Park Service owns the land; the U.S. Navy and the U.S. Coast Guard used the land; and the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers was supposed to clean the site.

A new Buxton NC Civic Association has formed and is encouraging an email campaign to public and agency officials. The Southern Environmental Law Center and the North Carolina Coastal Federation are now in the fight. Southern Environmental and the Federation have already sent a long letter to the Army Corps of Engineers.

The Civic Association has responded to a letter sent from (Sara) Keisler, FUDS (Formerly Used Defense Site) program manager, Corps of Engineers. The letter seems to say that the Corps will not fund site restoration.

On its Facebook page, Buxton NC Civic Association spelled out its position: “We will settle for nothing less than a plan for full removal of all structures, foundations, drain fields and contaminated soils on every portion of the site.”

Affordable, essential housing is also swirling around the commissioners. At the April 2 meeting, Robert L. Woodard, chairman of the board, called for a meeting on April 9, 2024 to make decisions about the board’s four and a half year, unsuccessful attempt to move the needle on housing.

At that April 9 meeting, the board decided to cut ties with Coastal Affordable Housing and return $35 million with lots of strings to the State of North Carolina.

Woodard had already appointed a Dare County Housing Task Force with 24 people, who are now tasked with finding ways to do something about housing.