Much has been written about the attempt to build houses on Capt. Sam’s Spit. The recent opinion piece by Prof. Orrin Pilkey is remarkably clear, concise, and convincing. His closing sentence says, “Setting a permanent baseline based on current data for the S.C. coast should help to prevent any development in highly erosional coastal areas and possibly save taxpayer monies to protect buildings that should never have been built there in the first place.”
This has already been proven on Folly Island, a coastal barrier island with a long history of cycles of erosion and of accretion. In the mid 1980s an erosion cycle had reached its peak and the normal high tide line was roughly along the baseline shown in the island’s 1992 Beach Management Plan.
By the mid 1990s an accretion cycle had begun and the island’s first renourishment project had been completed. The City of Folly Beach then somehow moved the baseline seaward and started granting building permits for the lots out on the public beach. Another erosion cycle began, but 14 houses had already been built between the Washout and the Coast Guard area.
A $30 million taxpayer- funded renourishment project was completed two years ago to protect these 14 houses. Most of that sand has already washed away and city officials are trying to figure out how to get another renourishment project funded by the taxpayers. The city is even spending $60,000 on lobbyists to beg money from the state.
The obvious truth is that nothing can be done to protect these houses from the Atlantic Ocean no matter how much taxpayer money is spent. The most economical way now to restore the public beach on Folly Island to the public is to remove these houses.
S.139, as originally introduced by Sen. Ray Cleary, should be passed in order to protect the beaches of South Carolina.
The strongest evidence in favor of this protection is found on the east end of Folly Island.
East Ashley Avenue