For the purpose of the Town’s project, beach nourishment is the process by which sand is brought by a dredge from offshore sand sources and pumped onto a beach.  The sand is placed according to an engineered plan with specific criteria for a built beach (berm) and storm protection.  At the Council’s November 5, 2014, Regular Meeting, the Council approved the construction of the project from the Army Corps of Engineers Field Research Facility (ACOE-FRF) property north to Skimmer Way and a 500 foot taper on the northern terminus. Due to the ACOE-FRF’s concerns about damage to its equipment in the original taper area, the southern taper has been modified to provide the same results as the 500 foot taper without impacting the Army Corps property. See Map.  Approximately 8,500 linear feet of shoreline will be a part of this project with more than 1,180,000 cubic yards of sand to be placed in the project area.  It should be noted that engineering will continue until construction begins.  Therefore, additional changes to the design of the project could occur prior to construction.

To learn more about how beach nourishment projects work, click here for an informative document from the American Shore and Beach Preservation Association.

In May of 2013, the Town’s consultants, Coastal Planning and Engineering (CP&E) completed an “Erosion and Shoreline Management Feasibility Study” for the Town of Duck.  The study recommended that in the “hot spot” areas of the Town, north of the Army Corps property, a long term erosion mitigation (beach nourishment) project utilizing a dredge and an offshore sand borrow source was the most effective way to mitigate against the erosion occurring in this area, both in terms of cost and efficacy.  In the area immediately north of the Army Corps property referred to as Segment 7 (from north of the Army Corps property to Dianne Street) erosion has been a long term trend with over 150 feet of shoreline having been lost since 1980, this trend is expected to continue without a beach nourishment project.  The structures in this area are becoming increasingly vulnerable to storm damage due to their proximity to the shoreline, the width of the beach, and the lack of protection provided by the dune structures that remain in this area.  The area referred to as Segment 8 (from Dianne Street north to Martin Lane in the Sanderling subdivision) also experienced significant erosion in the years after 1980.  While the Erosion and Shoreline Management Feasibility Study indicated that all of Segment 8 should be a part of the project, additional engineering analysis has refined the project area to only include a southern portion of Segment 8 (from Dianne Street to slightly north of Oyster Catcher Lane). Although recently the erosion in this area has been limited, models indicate that this portion of Segment 8 is vulnerable to future erosion and storm damage, which can also only be mitigated through the construction of a beach nourishment project.

The current project area, approved by the Council on November 5, 2014, in Duck is immediately north of the Army Corps property referred to as Segment 7 (from north of the Army Corps property to Dianne Street) and a portion of the area referred to as Segment 8 (from Dianne Street to slightly north of Oyster Catcher Lane), with a 500 foot taper on the northern end of the project which is not shown on the map.  (Updated March 18, 2016)  Please refer to the map here.

On March 17, 2016, Dare County (the contracting entity for the project) awarded the bid for the project, which includes the Towns of Duck, Kitty Hawk and Kill Devil Hills, to Great Lakes Dredge and Dock Company. A contract with Great Lakes Dredge and Dock Company was executed on April 19, 2016. The bid totaled $38,596,850. The contractor has been given a 17 month window (April 2016- December 2017) to complete the Duck, Kill Devil Hills and Kitty Hawk projects. Great Lakes Dredge and Dock Company has a construction schedule which will start the project in the Town of Duck on April 1, 2017, and is anticipated to
be completed in June 2017. Please keep in mind that things may change due to weather and equipment issues. The latest project updates will be made available on our website and during construction, on an interactive project map which will be available at www.morebeachtolove.com.

Great Lakes Dredge and Dock is under contract to start the project in Duck on April 1, 2017 and complete it by June 1, 2017. This schedule could change due to weather and other factors such as equipment issues.

In order to get a permit for a beach nourishment project, such as the one that the Town of Duck is proposing, many items have to be completed.  These include, but are not limited to, offshore sand sampling and compatibility analysis, sand borrow area survey sampling and compatibility analysis, updating models related to shoreline change rates and storm damage, and completing environmental documentation and assessments, which includes mandatory comment periods.  These items must be completed before the Town can submit permit applications.  Once permits are submitted for review, various State and Federal agencies must have sufficient time to comment on the applications and the Town must review and respond to these comments. The Town received its Coastal Area Management Act (CAMA) Major Permit December 1, 2015 and the Army Corps of Engineers Permit on May 25, 2016. For an update on the project by CPENC given during the Duck Council Retreat on March 9, 2016, view slides presented here: Beach Management Project Update  and click here to view a video of the presentation given by CPENC.

Easements are required for all oceanfront properties where sand will be placed.  The easement is required solely for activities related to the construction and maintenance of the project including sand placement and associated earthwork, installation of sand fencing, and planting of beach grass associated with the project.  It provides the town and its contractors with the ability to work in the area of the beach generally waterward of the dune vegetation line, erosion escarpment, or toe of the frontal or primary dune for the life of the project.  The easements are not used for the purpose of acquiring public beach access in the project area.  Requests for easements were sent to oceanfront property owners beginning in the spring of 2015. All 120 required easements have been finalized since early 2016. (Updated March 18, 2016) 

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As mentioned above, the easement is for the purpose of constructing and maintaining the project. It does not change the boundaries of your property, convey property to the Town, or change your ability to access or use the property as you currently do, except in limited instances during the construction phase of the project. You are still allowed to maintain a dune walkover that is consistent with local, state and federal regulations. However, since this project involves the design and construction of an engineered beach profile, it is anticipated that individual property owners will no longer be able to conduct beach pushes within the project area after its construction.

Typically, any given section of beach might be shut down for 4 to 6 days. To ensure public safety during this time, direct access to the beach in front of a given property will be prohibited. The contractor will install caution tape at crossovers that lead to the active construction area. Likewise, the contractor will install a temporary barrier on the northern and southern boundary of the active construction area to prohibit pedestrian traffic.

In the active construction area, bulldozers, loaders, and excavators are the primary pieces of equipment being utilized. The active construction area may also contain a mobile construction office (skid-mounted), light plants, welding equipment, and other ancillary equipment. Construction typically occurs on a 24/7 basis. Dozers and loaders are equipped with back up alarms and lights. Outside the active construction areas, shore pipeline will be laid to allow for sand to be pumped from the nearshore pump-out station to the active construction area. This pipeline will run parallel to the beach. Pipelines may remain in place in front of individual properties for several weeks. However, sand ramps will be constructed over the pipelines to allow pedestrian traffic over the pipe.

Any damage that results from the contractor’s work will be repaired or replaced by the contractor. Typically, a local contractor is hired to perform these repairs in a timely manner.

The project, which will cost approximately $14,057,929 and will be funded through revenue derived from the Dare County Beach Nourishment Fund ($7,094,929), with the remaining $6,963,000 to be funded through a combination of General Fund appropriation and Municipal Service Districts (MSDs). That is, the Town’s portion of the cost of the project will be funded by a contribution from all of the taxpayers in Duck (no tax increase is expected for this portion of the funding) with additional funding being provided by property owners in the project area, both oceanfront and non-oceanfront (MSDs).  The Town has issued Special Obligation Bonds to pay its portion of the project cost with debt service for the bonds to be paid back over a five year term.  This debt service cost to the Town is $1,221,390 per year for the five year term with additional funding being provided from the Dare County Beach Nourishment Fund.  At its November 5, 2014, Regular Meeting, the Council approved for public hearing on March 4, 2015, a plan which would apportion the payment of this debt as follows: 20% to be paid through the Town’s General Fund (no additional tax will be levied by the Council), 40% will be paid by oceanfront property owners and 40% will be paid by non-oceanfront property owners.  This plan was approved with a unanimous vote by Town Council following the public hearing on March 4, 2015.   Based on this plan the additional tax per year for oceanfront property owners will be $0.463 and for non-oceanfront property owners the additional tax will be $0.148.  (To review slides presented by Town Manager Christopher Layton during the February 19, 2015 Town Council Retreat, click here: Beach Nourishment MSD Update.)

A Municipal Service District (MSD) is a tax district where property owners in the district are taxed at a higher rate to fund improvements (in this case beach nourishment) that are of a direct benefit to property owners in the affected district.  In this case, the Town Council approved on March 4, 2015, to establish two MSDs for the project area.  One MSD will consist of all oceanfront properties from the Army Corps of Engineers property north to just north of Oyster Catcher Lane (see map here).  The second MSD will consist of the oceanfront and non-oceanfront properties in this same area (see map here).  As was stated above, at its November 5, 2014, Regular Meeting, the Council approved for public hearing on March 4, 2015, a plan which would apportion the payment of the debt associated with the project as follows: 20% to be paid through the Town’s General Fund (no additional tax will be levied by the Council), 40% will be paid by oceanfront property owners (through two MSDs) and 40% will be paid by non-oceanfront property owners (through one MSD).  This plan was approved with a unanimous vote on March 4, 2015, and it is estimated that the additional tax per year for oceanfront property owners will be $0.463 ($0.148 in MSD A and $0.315 cents in MSD B) and for non-oceanfront property owners the additional tax will be $0.148 (in MSD A).  It is important to note that the amount of tax paid is directly related to the assessed value of the property as determined by the Dare County Tax Assessor’s office as the tax levied is based on each $100 of a property’s value.  For example, an oceanfront property valued at $1,000,000 would pay an additional tax of $4,630 per year for the five year debt period and a non-oceanfront property valued at $600,000 would pay an additional tax of $888 per year for the five debt period.  The approved MSDs took effect July 2, 2015 for a five year period. At the end of the five year period, the Council will determine the tax rate of the MSDs. The rate will be determined by factors such as the scope of the maintenance of the project and the time period when the maintenance begins.

Since the properties in the two MSDs will benefit more directly from the beach nourishment project than those properties not located in the project area, it is logical that the property owners in the project area should pay additional taxes for the construction of the beach nourishment project. In addition to protecting the properties immediately adjacent to the beach in the project area, the beach will be designed to provide for a dry beach area in all normal tidal conditions, thus allowing for the enjoyment of the beach for all users in the project area. By providing property protection and a dry beach, it is expected that both property values and rental rates will stabilize and remain competitive with other areas of the Town and the County.

The Council held a public hearing on the MSDs at its Regular Meeting on the evening of March 4, 2015.  Prior to this public hearing, all property owners in the MSDs were notified by letter (a minimum of four weeks ahead of time) about the public hearing.   Following the public hearing which was attended by over 50 people, three individuals spoke, the Town Council approved the establishment of the two MSDs as proposed.  The taxes levied by this adoption were first included in tax bills that were sent out on July 1, 2015.

At its November 5, 2014, Regular Meeting, the Council approved for public hearing on March 4, 2015, a plan which would apportion the payment of the debt associated with the project as follows: 20% to be paid through the Town’s General Fund (no additional tax will be levied by the Council), 40% will be paid by oceanfront property owners (through two MSDs) and 40% will be paid by non-oceanfront property owners (through one MSD).  At this time, it is estimated that the additional tax per year for oceanfront property owners will be $0.463 ($0.148 in MSD A and $0.315 cents in MSD B) and for non-oceanfront property owners the additional tax will be $0.148 (in MSD A).  It is important to note that the amount of tax paid is directly related to the assessed value of the property as determined by the Dare County Tax Assessor’s office as the tax levied is based on each $100 of a property’s value.  For example, an oceanfront property valued at $1,000,000 would pay an additional tax of $4,630 per year for the five year debt period and a non-oceanfront property valued at $600,000 would pay an additional tax of $888 per year for the five year debt period.

The Town of Duck is actively working with the Towns of Kill Devil Hills and Kitty Hawk to share in costs associated with permitting and construction for the three Towns. In addition, all three Towns and the County have worked together to develop a plan to fund each nourishment project.

The sand that will be used for this project, which is over 1,180,000 cubic yards of sand for the Duck project, will come from an offshore borrow source. The Town’s consultants, Coastal Planning and Engineering, have identified two potential offshore sand borrow source areas for this project. One location is offshore near Kill Devil Hills and a second location is offshore of Duck. For this project the sand is expected to come from the borrow source off of Kill Devil Hills.

Coastal Planning and Engineering (CP&E) is under contract to do all work associated with permitting and engineering of the project. DEC Associates is assisting the Town with the finance related aspects of the project. The contractor who will be responsible for the construction of the project is Great Lakes Dredge and Dock Company.

It is anticipated that the Duck beach nourishment is designed for a minimum of five years protection before maintenance is required. This period is highly influenced by the number and strength of hurricanes, storms and nor’easters. At the end of that period, it will be necessary to renourish a portion of the project.

Please refer to the Town’s website for additional information sources on the project.  In addition, you may call or email Christopher Layton, Town Manager (clayton@townofduck.com) at 252.255.1234.