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Fripp Island homes hit by SC coast setback change

May 17, 2010 7:02:00 PM - thestate.com
Owners of some of the state's most pricey oceanfront property hope the Legislature will spare them from new beach setback lines that they say could make it tougher to sell or rebuild after a hurricane.

On Tuesday, the House could take up a measure that would exempt Fripp Island from new setback rules.

Regulators say they're treating Fripp Island no differently from any other coastal community. They say the Fripp bill is the first time the Legislature has gone this far to intrude on the state's policy of restricting building in erosion-prone coastal areas.

Fripp is a privately owned, 3,000-acre island in Beaufort County. Visitors must pass a security guard and cross a private bridge to view houses that mostly sell for well over $1 million. Piles of rocks called a revetment keep the crashing Atlantic Ocean surf from stealing land.

But it's what can only be seen on maps that irks the owners of miles of beach-front property: the new setback line that crosses decks and living rooms, and puts entire houses and condo buildings on much of the island on the wrong side of the state's decades-long policy to discourage beach-front building in areas prone to erosion.