Check the photos below. If your property is in the yellow area you will probably be in an Inlet Hazard Area by the end of the year. At their meeting last week the Coastal Resources Commission (CRC) approved the new boundaries and the new rules for properties deemed at risk.
Inlet Hazard Areas (IHAs) are sections of islands that are more vulnerable to erosion due to the impact of the inlet. The new maps show Holden Beach will be hit hard, especially on the West End. The West End currently has 15 lots in the IHA, that will go up to 173 lots, and include all the oceanfront from roughly Sailfish to the end of the island. The area will increase from 290.5 acres to 569.3 acres, almost double in size. This will be the largest IHA in the state. The East End will also see changes. The IHAs there is 64 acres and will jump to 189.5 acres – an almost 200% increase in size. Currently, there are 52 lots in the IHA, that will increase to 156.
The CRC determined the new IHA boundaries based on historic vegetation line data.
What Does It Mean?
- Structures (residential or commercial) will be limited to 5000sf of heated space. Existing larger structures would be grandfathered and could be rebuilt if destroyed.
- Insurance is impacted for homes in an IHA.
- While most of our beach has already been subdivided and thus not impacted, new development would require lots a minimum of around one-third acre.
- According to local Realtors, being located in an IHA can restrict the ability to have a concrete slab under a home in some cases, as impervious surfaces at ground level are not allowed. If planning to build talk to your real estate professional.
- It is not clear what impact the changes will have on property values and the Town’s tax base – if any.
The changes will be sent to the state Office of State Budget and Management for their review. After that public hearings will be held. The Division of Coastal Management’s Ken Richardson expects the public meetings to start this spring with final adoption by the end of the year.
Click here for the information on IHAs from the CRC’s meeting packet. It also includes the methodology used to determine the IHAs and setbacks.
Click here to read a short article on the changes.