North Carolina tells some victims of Fran they can't rebuild
Homes are too near the coast, officials say
October 25, 1996
From Correspondent Brian Cabell
NORTH TOPSAIL BEACH, North Carolina (CNN) -- After two hurricanes ripped through North Carolina over the summer, about 800 residents have been informed they cannot rebuild homes that were damaged or destroyed.
The state of North Carolina said a stretch of homes along the coast is too close to the Atlantic Ocean, where the push of the ocean has caused shores to erode and undermined building foundations. (26 sec./1M QuickTime movie)
Alison Davis of the North Carolina Division of Coastal Management explained that more tax dollars would most likely have to be used to repair such structures the next time a storm hits. (9 sec./95K AIFF or WAV sound)
The force of the currents is so great that barrier islands are literally moving toward the mainland. Scientists say that on North Carolina's Topsail Island, homes will be under water in a couple of generations unless the process is reversed.
Hurricanes Bertha and Fran helped accelerate the process.
"Barrier islands all along the North American coast are moving at a much more rapid rate today than they were a few hundred years ago," Kevin Moody from the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service warned.
Hoping to discourage such development, the federal government has refused since 1982 to provide insurance in some coastal areas. Homeowners, however, have continued to build, using expensive private insurance or none at all.
Some North Carolinians are calling for an even stricter approach toward beach development. They want the state and federal government to buy private property. But the problem, according to beach homeowners Bill and Carol Cox, is cost.
"If they wanted to buy our home, they won't have enough money to buy 26 miles of homes here," Bill Cox said.
Still others aren't worried, even as the cleanup from Bertha and Fran continues.
"I think we have lost a portion of our tax base through the damages caused by the hurricanes," Ann Vause, town manager for North Topsail Beach, said. "But a lot of it will be rebuilt, and it may be built better than it was before."
© 1996 Cable News Network, Inc.
Terms under which this service is provided to you.