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Panel: Beach development law a challenge

Mar 29, 2011 2:21:00 PM - thestate.com
South Carolina's more than 20-year effort to limit development on the beach will get a substantial review during the next year, but members of a panel examining state coastal law said Tuesday it will be a challenge.

The state's policy of "retreat'' from the beach has not worked as intended when the 1988 Beachfront Management Act was adopted, in response to severe erosion along the state's seashores.

Instead of gradually pushing new development away from the beach, or retreating, as the law is written, state regulators have allowed some seaside landowners to build farther on to the strand. They blame that on limits in the law.

Intense oceanfront development is a concern because erosion can get worse when seaside buildings are pounded by waves. Homes near the oceanfront also are more vulnerable to hurricane damage and expensive taxpayer bailouts when they are damaged.

By next year, the Blue Ribbon Committee on Shoreline Management will recommend changes to the Legislature in the law. Members will look at a variety of issues, ranging from whether some communities need different sets of rules than others.