Communities along North Carolina’s Outer Banks are grappling with how to prevent beaches, and ultimately the settlements themselves, from washing away.
One solution, beach replenishment in which sand is harvested offshore and pumped onto eastern-facing beachfronts, is a costly, temporary measure. The Town of Avon, with a few hundred full-time residents, needs at least $11 million to stop its main road from washing away.
To raise the funds, Dare County proposed increasing Avon’s property taxes by almost 50% for some residents. But that plan would only stave off the problem for about five years. Other communities along the Outer Banks face similar challenges.
In light of major storms that have pummeled the sandbar island chain in recent years, along with rising sea levels, some suggest the government would be better served to pay residents to relocate inland. One Avon resident quoted in a New York Times Magazine article said he is telling his children to leave the community.