All of Ocracoke’s oceanfront beach is a national park, the Cape Hatteras National Seashore. Photo: C. Leinbach

The Coastal Resources Commission is proposing amendments to its oceanfront development setback rules.

The commission’s Division of Coastal Management will hold a public hearing on these amendments from 10 a.m. to noon on Wednesday, Jan. 8, in the Hyde County Community Center, 30 Oyster Creek Road, Swan Quarter.

This public hearing will be simultaneously broadcast to the Ocracoke Community Center so that residents of Ocracoke can participate. The comment period will end on Jan. 31.

The hearing is on the commission’s proposed amendments to 15A NCAC 07H .0304 to reflect the five-year update of the state’s oceanfront erosion rates. Erosion rates are used to establish construction setbacks for development within the Ocean Erodible Area – Areas of Environmental Concern. 15A NCAC 07H .0304 defines and establishes Areas of Environmental Concern (AECs) within the Ocean Hazard Areas along the State’s Atlantic shoreline.

Ocean Hazard Area AECs include the Ocean Erodible Area, Inlet Hazard Area and the Unvegetated Beach.

Mike Lopazanski, the policy and planning section chief, said in a phone interview that the meeting is being held in Hyde County because Hyde is in the commission’s eight-county jurisdiction.

Even though Ocracoke does not have oceanfront development, CAMA requires that the commission conduct a hearing in every county that has an Ocean Erodible Area – Areas of Environmental Concern.

The hearing will update 15A NCAC 07H .0304, 7H .0306, 7H .0309, and 7H .0310 of the Inlet Hazard Area boundaries and associated development setback factors.

The proposed amendments are intended to minimize the loss of property and human life by establishing development setbacks between structures and the Atlantic shoreline.

The proposed amendments and associated fiscal analysis are available for review on the Division’s website here.

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    • It doesn’t, really. It applies to oceanfront erosion rates. Ocracoke does not have oceanfront development, but they’re holding the hearing in Hyde because Hyde is part of their eight-county jurisdiction area.

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