Reprinted by permission of The News & Observer of Raleigh, North Carolina
August 17, 1998
The News & Observer
Shell Island cited for unauthorized sandbags
By The Associated Press
WRIGHTSVILLE BEACH -- Coastal regulators have cited the Shell Island Resort for illegally enlarging a sandbag wall protecting the $22 million complex from the encroaching sea.
A February storm, combined with continual erosion from the waves of Mason Inlet, damaged the long sand tubes stacked like stairs in front of the nine-story resort at the northern tip of Wrightsville Beach.
As they repaired the L-shaped protective structure in May and June, workers for the resort added smaller sandbags that increased the width of the wall from 54 feet to 75 feet in some areas, according to an Aug. 5 violation notice from Bob Stroud, district manager for the Division of Coastal Management.
The sandbags were supposed to stay within the wall's original footprint - 410 feet long, 54 feet wide and 8 feet tall - when repairs were made.
Shell Island attorney Susan McDaniel said inlet currents and wave action might have pulled some sandbags farther into the water, but that the resort has never placed one outside of the permitted area.
"We maintain that we are not in violation of our permit," she said.
Stroud said state officials would not force Shell Island to dig up some of the sandbags and return the structure to its original width because that might endanger the entire sandbag wall. Regulators could fine the resort $2,500, however.
McDaniel said the resort would protest the citation only if the state also issues a substantial fine. Shell Island would pay the $150 fine routinely given to all violators but specify that it is not conceding a violation occurred, she said.
The makeshift wall must be removed by September 1999, when Shell Island's sandbag permit expires. Resort homeowners, who are fighting the state in court to get a large steel wall for protection, worry the sand tubes will collapse before their legal challenge is settled.
Estimated Printed Pages: 2
Shell Island Resort
Copyright 1998 by The News & Observer Pub. Co.
Record Number: 1998228087
©1999, Alec M. Bodzin for the Science Junction, NC State University. All rights reserved.
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