October 20, 2008 A small storm causes big trouble on Hatteras Island....By IRENE NOLAN A rather unremarkable coastal storm has caused a remarkable amount of damage on Hatteras Island.The storm system formed on Saturday night, Oct. 18, along the remnants of a cold front that dumped almost an inch of rain on the island. As the storm deepened, the pressure gradient between the low to the east and a high pressure system to the north sent the winds to gale force along the coast and had huge waves crashing onto north facing beaches.At least one oceanfront house in northern Rodanthe was destroyed, and Highway 12 was closed to traffic off and on both Sunday and Monday during the high tide.The house that was destroyed was a three-story, five-bedroom rental cottage on Sea Haven Drive, built just five years ago and valued at $942,400 by Dare County.Other oceanfront properties were condemned because of more minor damage, such as steps that were washed away or damaged septic and water lines. A total amount of property damage and number of condemned houses was not available from Dare County on Monday evening.The destroyed cottage, called Caramore and owned by Daniel and Lindora Sargent of Whitehouse Station, N.J., was pummeled by the big waves on Sunday morning. It started leaning precariously to the south and continued swaying and groaning through the high tide at noon on Sunday. By afternoon, all of the pilings had collapsed, and the house was resting on the beach and in the ocean.“Dan and I were shocked,” Lin Sargent said in a telephone interview. “We didn’t even know there was a storm.”Sargent said she and her husband had a call from Surf or Sound Realty, their management company, on Sunday afternoon, but that they did not find out how badly damaged the house was until they were called by a newspaper reporter on Sunday night who sent them a photo.“When you see it in a photo, then it’s real,” she said.The Sargents have been visiting the Outer Banks, she said, for 33 years. She is a teacher, and her husband is a retired police officer who works in construction. Finally, she said, they were able to buy property. They finished building their “dream house” in September, 2003, just before Hurricane Isabel.The professionally decorated house had five bedrooms, five full bathrooms, a swimming pool, a hot tub, a game room with bumper pool and a wet bar, and many other amenities, including a spectacular ocean view. It rented this year for $5,495 a week in the prime season.“We always worked to keep that house up,” Lin Sargent said. “My husband spent time every year rebuilding the dune, planting beach grass, and installing sand fencing.”However, the dune could not hold the ocean back on Sunday morning. The ocean knocked down Caramore and damaged other houses. The famous – or perhaps infamous – cottage known as Serendipity, at which much of the current hit movie “Nights in Rodanthe” was filmed, was again sitting in the ocean – surrounded by water and waves on all sides. It’s newly repaired septic tank was once again damaged.On Sunday at the noon high tide, traffic was backed up on Highway 12 as visitors tried to leave the island and others were trying to get on to check into their week-long rentals. The North Carolina Department of Transportation tried its best to move sand and water off the road between high tides to let vehicles through. Still, many of them were moving through a foot or more of saltwater.This same scene was replayed at the high tide at mid-day Monday.The coastal low that brought the high tides was not a classic northeaster, according to Casey Dail, a forecaster with the National Weather Service office in Newport, N.C., and Frank Rosenstein, a forecaster at the Hydrometerological Prediction Center in Maryland, who owns a condo in Hatteras village and keeps islanders updated on long-range storm forecasts.The wind, both Dail and Rosenstein agreed, was much more northerly than northeasterly.And the wind did not blow all that hard. The official reading on Hatteras Island from Billy Mitchell Airport measured a sustained wind of 25 and a highest gust of 41 on Saturday. On Sunday, the highest sustained wind was 23 and the highest gust was 30.Dail that that unofficial reports measured sustained winds in the lows 30s with highest gusts up to 43 mph.Rosenstein warns that another weather system is setting up for later this week, which also could be problematic.“I may not be quite as windy,” he said, “but the winds will be more northeast.”That, Rosenstein said, could be more trouble for the vulnerable Rodanthe area. Tides, he said, will continue to run about a foot above normal this week, and the moon will be new at the end of the week, which means astronomically higher tides.So even a lesser storm with more northeast winds could bring trouble.Stay tuned to the forecasts.
This was published this week, October 9, 2008. I responded to what I felt was a wrong thing to do. This is from the Outer Banks Sentinel.
Letters-editorials Don't lose history First, I think it is a shame that Nags Head does not have Cottage Row as a historic district. Why is that? That is a part of history that will never be done again.Why do they need another multi-bedroom structure there? Is there not enough of that now? I believe someone needs to work on preserving that area. The area will be so up-to-date that the magic of Outer Banks will be gone and all we will have will be multi-bedroom houses that are not even homes to anyone - just somewhere to make money.There is more to the life on the beach than just making money: make memories. I am so put out with how everyone is thinking of making money and nothing else. People need to wake up! There is a life out there. Stop thinking about money and enjoy what you have. A lot of people, like myself, would love to have a cottage on Cottage Row. Wake up and look around!!
I think this a shame of wasting a house of history just so they can make more money off of visitors. This is a part of the Outer Banks that will never be able to enjoy again. All the memories people have had in this house. Now someone wants to destroy this house and build a multi-bedroom structure. Like they don't have enough as it is there! I just wanted to share one of my passions with you. I love the Outer Banks NC and I love these Cottages there. Thanks for looking.
BY JESSICA BOWEN/ OBSENTINEL
(newspaper for the Outer Banks NC)
Nags Head's Cottage Row will soon see changes. According to Nags Head Planning and Development Deputy Director Bruce Bortz, property owner Robbie Morris is in the process of obtaining the required permits to demolish his property at 3935 S Virginia Dare Trail, formerly owned by Buddy Davis. He plans to build a larger multi-bedroom structure in its place. Because Cottage Row is not a town-designated historic district, Bortz said there isn't much the town can do to discourage the demolition.
During 1970's, Cottage Row received the National Historic Register's District designation, which can be given either to individual houses or districts. However, the designation does not include any protection for the properties. Each town or community that receives the designation is responsible for deciding whether to create ordinances to preserve the historical value of the homes or district. Nags Head has never adopted such ordinances. "If it were a true town historic district, the town could help preserve it," said Bortz. "But there's not been much support by the property owners to establish a historic district." Property owner John Wilson explained that he had been appointed twice to conduct meetings that explained the needed ordinances. "I would say it's a divided audience," said Wilson. Some owners have wanted town protection, others have not. He said that Cottage Row spans only a fraction of the more than 100 miles of Dare County beaches, and "it's disgraceful that the town cannot preserve and protect the historical properties." Wilson noted when the house was still on the market, the agent tried to find a buyer that would protect the house. "There was even a group of five people that were going to step up and buy the house if the current owner hadn't bought it." He added that several property owners on Cottage Row were assured the property was going to be restored, never demolished. "This is the beginning of the end much like the economy and the bailout plan," said Wilson. "It's all short-sighted for immediate profit and it surprises me." Wilson agreed with Bortz in that the town's hands are tied now since ordinances aimed at protecting the property were never adopted. Commissioner Bob Oakes said that the town has discussed making the area an historic district, but residents opposed that idea. "There's been more support from elected officials and other residents than property owners." He added that the topic rises regularly and noted that about two years ago, he urged the board to pass ordinances, but the opposing property owners "were more vocal than those that supported it." Terry Daniels, owner of 3945 S Virginia Dare Trail believes demolishing the structure is "a shame," and will take away the historic feeling that makes the town. "It's awful to tear down this structure and build an eight bedroom house with a garage and swimming pool; it's not going to come close to resembling the house." The Coastal Area Management Act (CAMA) permit for the project was applied for Sept. 9 and letters to adjacent property owners Joseph Jenkins and Deborah Hill were sent Sept. 10. Public comments were accepted until Sept. 29. According to the CAMA application, Second Wind Builders, on behalf of Morris, are planning to construct an eight-bedroom, seven-and-a-half bath, with a two-car garage, swimming pool and walkway to the ocean. In a letter sent to Scott Williams, contractor for Second Wind Builders, Inc., Peter Sandbeck on the NC Department on Cultural Resources indicates the office is slightly disapproving of the new construction. "We very much regret that Mr. Morris has determined that he cannot rehabilitate the historic cottage and make it work for him as a year-round residence," he wrote. "Certainly the new house will be very nice. It will, however, not be historic." Morris also owns property 4507 S Virginia Dare Trail, located directly south of Winslow Cottage. According to the letter from Sandbeck, Morris intends to rehabilitate it as a rental property. As of Sept. 19, Morris had not applied for either a demolition or a development permit, according to Bortz. As long as all requirements are met, the town can do nothing to stop the demolition. "Our only prohibition policy is that we will not participate in the burning of a historic structure," said Bortz. 252-480-2234