By Island Free Press on September 7, 2022
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.
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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