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NC Coastal Resources Commission says sandbags must be removed

READ MORE: N.C. Coastal Resources Commission says sandbags must be removed

WILMINGTON, NC (WWAY) -- Sandbags are the last line of defense for many beach front homeowners, but the North Carolina Coastal Resources Commission says they have to go. The removal of the sandbags in Kure Beach is a very sensitive subject. Some residents say without them, it will only take one big storm to knock out their homes. To some they're an eyesore, but no matter what they look like, sandbags serve a very important purpose.

John Rochester is staying in Kure Beach and said, "If they took those sandbags away right now, after two or three weeks of fall weather where we have storms, the deck would be gone."

The sandbags at The Riggings condominiums have been in place for about 15 years. They were originally installed as a temporary fix to keep the ocean at bay. The state's CRC has never really endorsed the sandbags, but has allowed homeowners, threatened by shoreline erosion, to use them over the years.

They even granted several extensions.

"When they're kept in tact, they're usually never seen," said Rochester. "If they would allow them to put more out there, the sand would fill in around them and they would never be seen. They're not an eye sore until the state stops people from maintaining them, not taking them up, but maintaining them."

State officials say the sand bags simply force erosion to areas further down the beach.

In May 2008, coastal officials started enforcing the removal of the sandbags, but that was quickly stopped by a 2009 moratorium. Without the sandbags, many properties in Kure Beach, and even historical monuments like Fort Fisher, are at risk of being washed away.

"A lot of money invested that the taxpayers would have to go back and pay if it got washed away," Rochester said. "These sandbags are stopping a lot of erosion."

The division will examine existing sandbag structures and prioritize what needs to go first before enforcing any sandbag removal.

A number of Kure Beach homeowners, who did not want to go on camera, said they are very upset. They said they've worked long and hard, in order to purchase a beach front property. They say they already have enough to worry about with being beachfront owners. The last thing they need is the state taking away things that help protect their investments.

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