Southern Shores public hearing March 16 on property tax districts to pay for beach nourishment

In 2017, Southern Shores widened 1,500 feet of beach north of the Kitty Hawk town line. [photo courtesy Town of Southern Shores]

The Southern Shores Town Council will hold a public hearing on March 16, 2021 to give residents and property owners an opportunity to express their opinions on a financing plan to pay for a beach nourishment project in the spring or summer of 2022.

The Town performed the first beach nourishment project at the southern end of Town in 2017.  Following that project, the Town’s coastal engineering consultant conducted a study in 2018 which was updated in 2020. 

The results recommended construction of a town-wide beach fill project designed to maintain a reasonable level of storm protection, mitigate long term erosion, and continue to provide residents and visitors with a healthy useable beach to enjoy for recreation. 

The beach fill project plan places 878,300 cubic yards of sand along the entire town oceanfront which is approximately 3.7 miles. The proposed project includes advance fill to maintain the integrity of the project design over a 5-year renourishment interval.

All properties in Southern Shores benefit from a well-maintained beach. Due to the revenue that tourism generates, each Dare County resident enjoys tax relief of $3,147 annually.   

We depend on the beach to keep our economy strong.

During the 2018/2019 fiscal year, Southern Shores received $1,001,880 in occupancy tax which amounts to approximately 6.5 cents in tax savings. All properties in Southern Shores will contribute a portion of their tax dollars toward the cost of financing the nourishment project.

As proposed, additional funding for the beach nourishment project will come from Dare County’s Beach Nourishment Fund and Southern Shores property owners. 

This funding is similar to that used by other local towns and county for beach nourishment projects. The project is estimated to cost between $14-$16 million.

 The purpose of the hearing is to receive comment on a proposal to consider the establishment of two municipal service districts to generate revenue to pay the Town’s portion of the project. 

A municipal service district is a defined area within a town where additional property tax is levied to provide projects or extra services that benefit the properties in need in that district.

The public hearing will take place at 5:30 p.m. in the Town Council Meeting Room at the Kern Pitts Center located at 5377 N. Virginia Dare Trail in Southern Shores on March 16, 2021. 

In preparation for this public hearing a report has been prepared, which includes information on the proposed beach nourishment project and the proposed municipal service districts.

Specifically, the report contains the following:

  • A map of the proposed district boundaries,    
  • A statement regarding the service proposed to be provided within the municipal service districts; and,
  • A plan for providing the proposed service.

A copy of the Beach Nourishment MSD Project Report is available for public inspection at the Administration Building, in the Office of the Town Clerk, 5375 N. Virginia Dare Trail Southern Shores, NC 27949, during normal business hours, 8:30 am – 5:00 pm. It may also be viewed on the Town’s website, www.southernshores-nc.gov. 

Due to public safety health concerns related to the impacts of the Coronavirus, the town encourages those that wish to be heard at this public hearing consider doing so either by emailing their comments with the subject line MSD to [email protected]. The Town Council will read copies of all emailed comments.

Public comment can also be made through Zoom by registering in advance for this meeting at https://zoom.us/meeting/register/tJcoduGqqTksG9FO-toke6-JRDWakH7fMpnu. After registering you will receive a confirmation email containing information about joining the meeting.

The public hearing will be live streamed on YouTube: https://www.youtube.com/user/TownofSouthernShores, public comment is not available using this platform.

This story originally appeared on OBXToday.com. Read More local stories here.