The video in the player above is from an August 2023 WAVY Investigation into OBX beach erosion.

RODANTHE, N.C. (WNCN/WAVY) — The Cape Hatteras National Seashore (CHNS) recently purchased two threatened oceanfront properties and associated structures in Rodanthe, according to the National Park Service.

Thanks to assistance from the National Park Trust and funding from the Land and Water Conservation Fund, properties at 23292 and 23298 East Beacon Road were purchased for fair market value without using taxpayer dollars.

Fair market value was determined by a certified appraiser and the Department of the Interior’s Appraisal and Valuation Services Office, NPS said.

Superintendent Dave Hallac says they have been talking about the problem and possible solutions for a while. After the last home collapse in Rodanthe in March, they started to engage more in this pilot program to purchase the homes and tear them down.

CHNS is in the process of hiring a contractor to remove threatened structures from the two properties and restore the beach.

Once the beach is restored, the adjoining lots will be opened for the public, the service said.

If the structures collapse prior to demolition, the CHNS will get together a team to quickly clean the beach and restore the area.

In March, two houses in Rodanthe collapsed into the Atlantic Ocean. 10 On Your Side has covered several recent house collapses.

According to NPS, five homes have collapsed on Seashore beaches since 2020. Here’s the timeline:

  • May 29, 2020: An unoccupied house collapsed during the overnight hours at 23238 Sea Oats Drive, Rodanthe.
  • February 9, 2022: On a calm winter day, an unoccupied house collapsed at 24183 Ocean Drive, Rodanthe.
  • May 10, 2022: During a multi-day nor’easter, an unoccupied house collapsed at 24235 Ocean Drive, Rodanthe. The collapsed occurred during the early morning hours.
  • May 10, 2022: During a multi-day nor’easter, an unoccupied house collapsed at 24265 Ocean Drive, Rodanthe. The collapse occurred during the early afternoon hours.
  • March 13, 2023: During inclement weather, an unoccupied house collapsed at 23228 East Point Drive, Rodanthe.

The NPS said the purchase of the properties were pursued for the following reasons:

  • To mitigate the ongoing impacts of having threatened oceanfront structures impact visitor safety, public health, and wildlife habitat at the Seashore.
  • To assist threatened oceanfront structure owners that do not have viable options to move the structures or promptly remove debris following potential collapse.
  • To restore the beach and make the sites a public beach access where visitors from the surrounding community can walk onto the Seashore beach areas without walking through private properties.
  • To remove the structures or have the ability to respond to their collapse and clean up debris in a much quicker manner; thereby, minimizing impacts to park areas and visitors.
  • To evaluate the feasibility of a larger program.

“Our plan is that by having a controlled program to remove the houses that any of those pollutants and other materials, that all of that activity, could be, or those concerns are highly minimized or avoided completely,” says Hallac. “Which, is not the case when a home collapses in an uncontrolled situation.”

The Land and Conservation Fund is used to acquire lands, waters, and interested therein necessary to achieve the natural, cultural, wildlife, and recreation management objectives of the NPS.

The fund invests earnings from offshore oil and gas leasing to help strengthen communities, preserve history, and protect national endowment of lands and waters. This way, no taxpayer funds are used in such purchases.

Once the contractor is hired and the work is able to begin, the process is expected to take 30 days barring any schedule changes.

Monitor the threatened oceanfront structures and work progress at the Cape Hatteras National Seashore at the link here.