|Southern Shores Mayor Pro-Tem Jodi Hess explaining that one property owner who refused access for beach nourishment could stop the whole process.|
A contentious, perhaps argumentative Southern Shores town council meeting earlier this month. At the heart of the debate was a town council resolution that would allow quick take of property if beach nourishment was required. A quick take provision allows for the immediate condemnation of a property for eminent domain use. Although a property owner has the right to appeal, generally the government is able to use the property during the appeals process.
The town council felt the resolution was a necessary first step in preparing the town for beach nourishment. Although Southern Shores does not appear to need beach nourishment on its beaches at this time, council members pointed out that every other town on the northern Outer Banks has needed it. They repeatedly expressed concerns that if it is needed in the future the legislation they were requesting was essential.
For more than an hour, property owners spoke in opposition to the resolution, repeatedly expressing the fear of losing property rights, the right to appeal and government overreach.
Council members noted that if an extended area of the beach needed nourishment, three or four property owners who refused access to their beach could could significantly alter the effectiveness of beach mitigation and potentially damage property.
After the public hearing, the council voted unanimously to pass the resolution.
The resolution does not have the force of law; it is a request for the state legislature to enact enabling legislation.