Edisto Beach votes to alter Army Corps’ beach protection plan

Published: May. 7, 2019 at 6:02 PM EDT
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EDISTO BEACH, SC (WCSC) - Edisto Beach officials voted on Tuesday to move forward with a beach protection project with the Army Corps of Engineers, but with a few changes.

The Corps’ original plan shows a dune line put in around the entirety of the town’s coast.

But homeowners aren’t a fan of that idea.

Community members say they’re afraid their beachfront property views are in jeopardy. Like many homeowners, Tom Hart says his view from his back porch is his pride and joy.

The Army Corps of Engineers’ beach protection plan would partially obstruct Hart’s ocean view.

“I have problems with that proposed plan,” Hart says.

The Corps wants to build a 10 to 14 foot high dune wall around the town, including along the inlet coast. That plan keeps the beach from shifting during storms but blocks the sunset sights of hundreds of oceanfront homeowners.

“The idea behind this is to preserve the beach and that’s a great idea,” Hart says. “But the impact of this would prevent many people from actually getting to the beach in the easy way we can today.”

Council members heard the community’s complaints, ultimately choosing to alter the Corp’s plan. During the Tuesday morning special meeting, council voted to move the dune wall away from homes and not add any dunes to the inlet at all.

“Over the years we have gone through different studies, plans, looked at financial responsibility, and the contours of the beach, each step of the way there have been two- or three-year delays,” said Mayor Jane Darby.

The mayor says this project will be expensive, but she says she wants to make sure the money is spent on an agreed upon plan. She says right now she’s not planning on introducing any new taxes or costs to the people of the town to fund this project.

“We are trying to avoid that with everything we have at this point, with every asset,” Darby says.

She says the next step is for the Army Corps of Engineers to review the town’s suggestions and hopefully agree with them. She says they can either choose to agree with the changes or not implement the feedback at all since the project decision is ultimately up to the Corps.

Darby says this project has been in the works for almost twenty years, meaning a set completion date for the beach protection project isn’t going to be soon.

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