Letters to the Editor

Private Hilton Head seawalls must be regulated by what is best for community as a whole

Workers installing a seawall in front of several properties along Piping Plover Road on Hilton Head Island.
Workers installing a seawall in front of several properties along Piping Plover Road on Hilton Head Island.

Private seawall legislation should align with the Hilton Head Island Beach Management Plan.

A seawall built in Sea Pines by five homeowners on Piping Plover highlighted a gap in our current oversight of hard structures that can impact the beachfront and nearby properties. In response, community members requested action by the Town Council in developing legislation governing private seawalls.

Approximately half of oceanfront property owners can, under the current system, build seawalls. These 292 homeowners could create a series of hard structures that may protect their properties but leave the rest of us footing the bill for increased beach erosion in front of and adjacent to these private seawalls.

According to Hilton Head Island’s own Shoreline Management Plan: “Rather than these hard structures, the principal means of shore stabilization embraced by the Town of Hilton Head Island Shoreline Management Plan should be beach nourishment, a restorative “soft” structure which provides for improved shorefront conditions suitable for recreation, protection of upland development or infrastructure, as well as global environmental enhancement.” (July 2017.)

It is time to update our town code to make sure private construction is in line with the overall community view of seawalls.

Karen Wells

Hilton Head Island

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