This is not official words from the Town of Surf City or NCDCM. This is my interpretation of a meeting held on 2/19/2020.
On Feb. 19, the Town of Surf City held a public meeting with residents, property owners, management companies and CAMA to discuss access to the beach for oceanfront properties.
The town has been hauling and pushing sand onto the beach for a few weeks now in an effort to correct recent erosion. This has created what many thought was a new dune. However the current rules and regulations in the State of North Carolina define a dune as having stable vegetation. Obviously the new "dune" does not have that stable line of vegetation. Therefore the Division of Coastal Management has the opinion that the newly created pile of sand is a berm.
Current regulations prohibit any development past 5 feet of the stable line of vegetation. So it layman's terms, this means we can not place permanent structures to cross the newly created berm.
This no doubt will cause many complaints from your renters as access to the beach will be complicated crossing the berm with no aid of steps or decks. It ultimately may affect your future rental bookings and bottom line as well.
There is a small loop hole though. The Town and the Division of Coastal Management do recognize that this is a huge issue for the island. They just don't have the rules in place to provide solid solutions. However, they will consider temporary measures to aid in people crossing the berm to reach the flat part of the beach.
Several temporary measures that were discussed were posts with rope, 2 x 4 framed steps embedded in the sand (see photo below) & Hatteras ramps.
The process to gain permission to install a temporary mechanism for crossing the berm is fairly straightforward. You will need to submit a line drawing of your proposal and a photo of the area to the Town of Surf City and NCDCM. These drawings do not need to be engineered which will save time. Once sent it seems you would have an answer in approx 1 week if it was permissible.
Every oceanfront property owner or home with a beach access needs to put some attention on this matter before our vacationers show up disappointed that they can not safely access the beach. Our rental season usually starts to kick off in the March to April time frame so time is of the essence.
I am here to assist you in this matter. Please email me at firstname.lastname@example.org for assistance or questions. You may also want to download the handout that was given to me at the meeting.
Lewis Realty Associates, Inc.
(Sample of Temp. Berm Steps Provided By Town of Surf City)