What Would Al Gore Do?

Figure 8 houseWhen Al Gore spends time at the North Carolina coast he stays at Figure Eight Island in a 7,000 square foot house voted most likely to fall into the ocean.  A thin stretch of beach separates the house from the rising sea along with a temporary line of sand bags 25 feet away, due for removal May 2008 in compliance with coastal regulations.  Sand bags on the beach are double edged swords, protecting the land side while accelerating erosion on the ocean side.  Owner Parker Overton filed a spirited variance request with the Coastal Resources Commission in February for a March hearing. 

Part of the variance request referred to the passing of SB 599 (what I refer to as the Terminal Groin Injury Act) in 2007 due to be heard in the House 2008 which would allow a terminal groin pilot project, presumed to be destined for a location close to the house.  Among political contributors on Figure Eight Island Parker Overton and his wife are the most generous.  As recently as December 2007 they each contributed $4,000 to the campaign of Marc Basnight. 

As it happens the variance wasn't heard at the March CRC meeting. According to officials "stipulated facts could not be agreed upon prior to the meeting."

OvertonsOverton is the founder of Overton Sport based in Greenville NC, billed as the the world's largest distributor of water sports products and boating accessories, with catalogs, online sales, brick & mortar stores. Overton is no stranger to the marine environment. In a hearing November 2007 of the NC Coastal Resources Commission he stated :

"that he grew up boating on the Pamlico River. He said that he has owned property on the Pamlico River, in Washington on the water and owns land on Figure Eight Island."

Contributory negligence, however unfair, is an element of NC law.  I know a man, essentially blinded by laser eye surgery, whose case was denied because the court ruled that, as a retired actuary, he should have understood the concept of risk.  In the variance request Overton stated:

"When we purchased this property in 1995, we were given a CAMA permit allowing us to build a residence and would not have done so if we had been told that we would not be able to take steps to protect our property and residence from destruction"

When your life is built on marine sports and your most famous house guest is the world's leading exponent on the hazards of rising sea levels and climate change an understanding of the risks of coastal development is implied.

In the early 11th century King Canute the Great was a smart and powerful leader of an empire that included England, Denmark, Norway and some of Sweden. One of his strenghts was knowing his limitations. When flattering followers deluded themselves that his powers extended to an ability to turn back the tides he had his throne placed at the ocean's edge where he sat commanding the water to recede to no avail, proving that there are greater powers in this world than men and their leaders.

What would Al do?

Figure 8 seen from Topsail

Figure Eight Island as seen from Topsail Island some 4 miles away.

Comments

Thanks for cross-posting this

It's amazing to me that a guy like Overton is playing dumb in order to, well, make up for being dumb.

Cheap Water Sports Vacation Here?

When Al Gore spends time at the North Carolina coast he stays at Figure Eight Island in a 7,000 square foot house voted most likely to fall into the ocean.

What would Al do? *GF

Get a new travel agent and vacation specialist! And check his insurance policy for Acts of God loopholes.

Why am I not surprised...

That you jump on a chance to trash a good Democrat and environmentalist, like Al Gore.

Gore has done more than any Republican ever has, for the good of our environment.

Trashing him on this issue is not only irrational but totally ridiculous.

NCDem Amy on YouTube

Get in a cool kayak

and thrash your way out!
poor guy.
Forget people who cannot find jobs, this guy's vacation home is under siege!

In Gore's defense

I've seen inconvenient truth, you've seen inconvenient truth.
At least he's not buying the property

Long time friend of Al Gore

To Overton's credit, he does support (and is a long time friend to) one of our best environmentalists: Al Gore.

Going through anyone's life with a fine toothed comb, one will find situations that can't be considered 100% environmentally correct.

No one is pure on this issue. No one. Not even Al Gore, apparently.

NCDem Amy on YouTube

Lost

I doubt that Al Gore is aware of the end run that well connected people are doing around state environment regulations that protect the North Carolina coastline for all people and not just the wealthy denizens of private gated communities.

Figure Eight Island is private island that does not allow direct public access via the bridge that connects it to the island. The only way to use the "public" beach, that part between low and high tide, is to get there by boat. As recently as May 27th a 22 foot boat carrying two men fishing capsized near Rich Inlet, at the north end of the island. One man drowned.

As long as this story is about groins and sand-bags it will will generate collective snores while our collective coastal protections are eroded by legislative trickery for the benefit of a few wealthy owners. I wrote this about people involved to help it make sense and to shine a light on the manipulation of the legislative process.

SB 599 was introduced as the "Ocean Isle Beach Shore Protection" act and was gutted to be a generic act which everyone "in the know" understands to be for Figure Eight Island.

Figure Eight Island has a beach nourishment project in planning that appears to be on hold as they try to get this groin project in place after which nourishment will still be needed. A groin generally reduces erosion on one side and increases erosion and beach disturbances elsewhere, for which reason they are prohibited.

It is not clear that they actually intend to carry out either the groin or nourishment projects but it has bought them time to keep temporary measures, ie sand bags, in place. That time has passed. If Figure Eight Islanders were serious about protecting their property they would continue immediately with the beach nourishment project instead of praying for the next Hail Mary pass at the altar of politics.

Someone should ask Al Gore for advice.

Give Me A Break!

The state should do everything it can to protect the rich folk's oceanfront beach properties. This is a serious issue! I understand that several area homeless shelters are signing petitions to save this island. With the rising price of gasoline the poor cannot even make a day trip to any beach at all. So let us all join forces to help these poor property owners out. Isn't this what America is all about? Let's send a message to Mother Nature that North Carolina's rich people are more powerful than some old lady! What more important issues are there?

Welcome, Charlie

Couldn't have said it better myself. That damn Mother Nature is gettin' mighty uppity these days.

heh.

Could be that Mother Nature has been sending messages all along. My brother and I drove along a beach road soon after a hurricane - not sure which one it was at this point, Floyd, Bertha, I don't remember. We saw so many destroyed homes. It was sad to see, but Bro. John had it right. He said

This is Mother Nature's way of saying, "You think you're going to build here? Yeah? Oh No You Won't."

Also, I'm not a bible thumper by any stretch of the imagination, but I remember something about a wise man building his house on rock, and the foolish man building his house on the sand. Take it out of the religious context, and it still makes sense.

Be the change you wish to see in the world. --Gandhi
Pointing at Naked Emperors

I've been on the island

In fact, I spent many years vacationing there (in my former life) And I must say it is surreal. I know the HOA has employed an oceanographer for years to discuss preserving the island and I know there were enrichment programs in place. I'm not an expert and do not know the pros and cons of such enrichment. I do know that they were done with island dweller financial support (about which all the residents complained). I wonder if this were a public beach with the same concerns we would be as critical. This is not to make any judgment on the current legislation, just to offer perspective.

On a side note, I was there when the Bush tax cuts went into effect. Prior to them, the growth rate on the island was maybe 4-5 houses per year. Once the cuts were in place, growth boomed. Just an interesting observation. Oh, and Johnny Edwards owns a house on the island as well. Al Gore just rents. Maybe his perspective may be interesting.

It is impossible to defeat an ignorant man in argument.
- William G. McAdoo

It is impossible to defeat an ignorant man in argument.
- William G. McAdoo

I seem to recall that they knew nothing about it....

and their house isn't near where this was going to happen nor would it be effected by it. As I recall.

I lived in a beach house that was still in existence only because it was owned by the Mellon family and they called JFK, who called the Army Corps of Engineers, who put a big rock wall in front of it after two rows of houses between them and the beach were washed out. Wow, what a run-on sentence. Here's the house, with the wall in front of it.

View Larger Map

The point? I lived somewhere really cool. ; )

Jesus Swept ticked me off. Too short. I loved the characters and then POOF it was over.
-me

Nice house.

Sorry @$$ beach.

What if everybody could do that? Nothing but sorry @$$ rocky beaches from Cape Cod to the Mexican border. :( But really cool houses with sound side private docks!! :D heh. That 99.999% of us would never be allowed to set foot in. :(

I assume that little channel that runs right along the private docks on the sound side is dredged regularly?

"It is amazing what you can accomplish if you do not care who gets the credit." - Harry Truman

"They took all the trees and put them in a tree museum Then they charged the people a dollar 'n a half just to see 'em. Don't it always seem to go that you don't know what you've got till it's gone? They paved paradise and put up a parking lot."

The beach.

Yeah, I didn't say it was a good idea, i just was the happy recipient of the unintended consequences. If you go to the map you'll see that there is a pretty major inlet about 200 yards up the beach. That inlet has historically (geologically) moved up and down the beach, but is now "pinned" in by the seawall and the powers that be. The river behind the house isn't dredged, but the inlet is and the sand is pumped out onto the beach down the ways a bit.

Jesus Swept ticked me off. Too short. I loved the characters and then POOF it was over.
-me

The poor will always be among us.....

Linda,

I liked your Biblical reference. Another one is when Jesus said that the poor would always be among us. However, He later amended that statement to include, "but not on Figure Eight Island." I think you will find that either in the Book of Luke or Newt's Contract With America.

But we really should do this for Figure Eight. I do not want all that negative publicity we would get if Al drowned while sleeping in his bed. That would be terrible.

All this talk of a terminal groin makes me glad I have a yearly prostate exam.

Charlie

All this talk of a terminal groin makes me glad I have a yearly prostate exam.

Kind of makes me glad I don't have to have one! And didn't you mean Newt's Contract ON America? :)

Be the change you wish to see in the world. --Gandhi
Pointing at Naked Emperors

i think he meant Newt's

contract on Americans.

Republicans love America. It's Americans they can't stand. :)

"It is amazing what you can accomplish if you do not care who gets the credit." - Harry Truman

"They took all the trees and put them in a tree museum Then they charged the people a dollar 'n a half just to see 'em. Don't it always seem to go that you don't know what you've got till it's gone? They paved paradise and put up a parking lot."