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Easements talks continue at Edisto

Officials at Edisto Beach continue to have conservations with residents about property easements required for the town to enter into an agreement with the U.S. Corps of Engineers.

The agreement would allow beach officials to receive federal funding that would help to pay for future beach renourishment projects.

According to a presentation provided by town leaders at a recent public meeting that was held between the town’s officials and the U.S. Corps, these easements would ensure that nothing can be done to interfere with any renourishment projects.

The amount needed from an individual property owner depends on various guidelines, including how close the property is to vegetation.

Approximately 225 properties are on the ocean front. The town’s leaders need consent in order to move forward with any partnership. A copy of the map showing each residents’ property and the needed easements are available at town hall.

More information on this map can be found at the town’ Web site.

“Anyone who lives on the coast knows the beach is dynamic,” said Edisto Beach Administrator Iris Hill, in a written document. “The problem is that beaches and barrier islands are not permanent. Wind and water reshape them. Some areas will accrete (gain sand) and some areas will erode (lose sand). This process is unpredictable.

“Areas that previously have accreted may begin to erode and vice versa. Without outside intervention, structures and properties are lost,” she said.

The town’s renourishment projects continue to increase in cost.

According to information provided by the town’s administration, a renourishment project done in 1995 put 155,000 cubic yards of sand onto the beach. That cost $1.5 million.

Then, in 2006, a renourishment project put 877,647 cubic yards of sand onto the beach. This project cost soared to $8,063,445: $1.5 million of that came from Colleton County and the Town of Edisto Beach spent $1.8 million in the project.

In 2017, the most recent renourishment project cost $12,848,239.

Town leaders say the next nourishment will need to be done in around 10-16 years.

The actual conversation between the town and the U.S. Corps began in 2016. At that time, Edisto Beach leaders mailed about 159 easement request letters to town residents. They received about 50-percent of those letters that were mailed.

A new survey is now needed to obtain new easements for properties located along the coast.

In the conversation about easements, the next step in a potential agreement between the town and the federal agency would be for the town to secure the perpetual easement line.

This property line would coincide with the land limits and would include existing structures.

The second step in the would-be partnership is for the town to provide a new cost estimate for property easements.

The third step is for the town to actually enter into an agreement.

“The overall question is how the town fund the next beach renourishment project,” said Hill.

If the town approves the partnership with the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, Edisto Beach as a municipality would join the federal funding program. This means the town would receive federal funding assistance in the event of a storm.

Heather Walters (1436 Posts)