Portion of Rodanthe street closed to allow oceanfront homes to be moved

By on September 7, 2022

By Joy Crist | Island Free Press

(Google Maps Image)

The Dare County Board of Commissioners (BOC) adopted a resolution to permanently close a paved portion of Seagull Street in northern Rodanthe at their September 6 meeting, allowing homeowners in the immediate area the ability to move their homes westward, and away from the ocean.

The proposal was introduced at the BOC’s August 1 meeting, where Noah Gillam, Dare County Planning Director, presented 12 affidavits from Seagull St. homeowners requesting the adjustment.

“It’s from my understanding, talking to several of the homeowners and the HOA President, that the homeowners are all planning on moving their houses westward, to prevent either damage or losing the house,” said Gillam at the August 1 meeting. “So this will give them an opportunity to at least extend their [home’s] life a little longer.”

Seagull Street is a private road owned by the Mirlo Beach Homeowners Association (HOA). It fronts a total of 13 oceanfront building lots, and a total of 12 homes that have been built in the last few decades. The street runs parallel with a section of N.C. Highway 12 that has effectively become a dead-end street upon the opening of the Jug Handle Bridge.

(Image from Dare County BOC)

Per the proposal to close the street, “The Mirlo Beach HOA is responsible for keeping Seagull clear of all sand and debris to allow the Seagull owners to gain access to their homes. This has become a great burden for the HOA. Some years, over half of the HOA fees are used just to keep Seagull clear. Because of this, the HOA has offered to deed the property occupied by [Seagull Street] to the Seagull homeowners.

“This property is approximately 45 feet wide and runs between the homeowners’ lots and the N.C. 12 right of way. This generous offer will allow all of the Seagull St. homes to be moved forward towards N.C. 12 and a significant distance away from the Atlantic Ocean. Needless to say, the Seagull homeowners have accepted the offer from the HOA.”

By closing the road, the homeowners will be allowed to install new driveways to their properties that will cut across the former Seagull Street. “The only issue that came up in our discussions is that you’re now going to put 13 cuts in the dune for ocean overwash into that area of Highway 12,” said County Manager Bobby Outten at the August 1 meeting. “But [Planning Director] Noah told me that it already breaches at one end and the other, and [floods] anyway, so you’re really not getting a whole lot of protection there anyway.” In addition, because the street is now bypassed by the new Jug Handle Bridge, any overwash in the immediate area would only impact the privately-owned properties.

On August 1, the BOC passed a resolution to conduct a public hearing on the closure of Seagull Street at their meeting on September 6. At the most recent BOC meeting, with no public comments during the hearing, the BOC went ahead and approved the proposal.

The oceanfront properties on the former Seagull Street are just some of the homes in Rodanthe that are in danger of falling into the Atlantic Ocean during a storm. In the past two years, four homes along a severely eroded stretch of shoreline south of Seagull St. have collapsed into the ocean, creating a debris field that extended for 15 miles or more.

The National Park Service has been working with Dare County and the individual homeowners to make a plan to move or relocate a number of Rodanthe properties in danger. For more information on recent updates and actions taken to prevent more home collapses, see the summary of an August 24 public meeting on the situation here.

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  • Travis

    In a sane world, the insurance companies would accept these houses are doomed and the owners would accept fair market value for them. They could be safely demolished and everyone wins.

    Or the County could work out a deal as was done in Nags Head for (ironically) the houses on Seagull Drive (https://www.outerbanksvoice.com/2015/03/22/seagull-drive-legal-saga-finally-ends-with-a-1-5-million-deal/).

    Instead they’ll become ocean fodder and gum up the beaches for months.

    Wednesday, Sep 7 @ 3:16 pm
  • Sand Crab

    Maybe don’t build your home so close to the ocean in the first place? So they can move these houses 45′? Wow… that’s gonna really change a lot.

    Wednesday, Sep 7 @ 7:45 pm
  • Steven

    Sand Crab, those houses were not built close to the ocean, just the opposite.
    That area is a historical inlet/outlet known as Loggerhead, hence the jug bridge.

    Thursday, Sep 8 @ 5:25 am
  • Greg

    This area has been eroding for 60 years and more. At S Turns there was a piece of 12 that went off into the dunes where it had to be rerouted. It was a nice parking area. The large resort at Rodanthe Pier washed away long ago. This area is and has been one of the most unstable beach areas in Dare County. The longshore currents here are very strong and wave action here is also strong. This area is known for having the biggest surf along the entire beach.

    Thursday, Sep 8 @ 9:49 am
  • C A

    Hardened structures will always be imperiled on a migrating barrier island. Always.

    Altering the natural and intentional flow of the ocean, and it’s sand will only ever be a temporary endeavor.

    As painful as it can be, and heartless as it may sound, it’s best to let it go where it goes, and do what it does.

    Bulkheads, jetties, boardwalks, fabricated dunes, and the like along with buildings all alter this, ” flow “.

    The east coast is littered with futile attempts at changing or redirecting it. It’s just a fact.

    Be careful with your money, and spend it planning for this. It will serve everyone better, eventually.

    Don’t believe me? Go stand on the beach where the ocean rushes up over your feet, and describe what happens.

    A micro sample. However it is a most consistent reaction. Thank you.

    Thursday, Sep 8 @ 7:04 pm
  • Arthur Pewty

    The Mirlo Beach subdivision has been known locally as “Washover Acres” from when it first opened up for development. If it hadn’t been for the sand pumped onto the beach a few years ago these houses would be gone by now.

    Thursday, Sep 8 @ 7:11 pm
  • Steven

    Mirlo Breach is how we refer to it in the tri-village

    Friday, Sep 9 @ 5:23 am
  • Sand Crab

    To those who tried to give me a history lesson I’m aware of the areas erosion trends. Those houses aren’t 60 years old, and even if they had 100′ of beachfront when built it’s still too close to the ocean.

    Friday, Sep 9 @ 3:34 pm
  • George Hardy

    you can not stop mother nature

    Friday, Sep 9 @ 6:25 pm
  • George Hardy

    The ocean is more powerful than anything man can ever invent!

    Friday, Sep 9 @ 6:29 pm