South Carolina officials and property owners along the eroding beach at Wild Dunes have agreed to a fine of $18,000 for the thousands of sandbags that ended up littering the state’s coast and marshes after storms last spring.
The South Carolina Ocean and Coastal Resource Management Agency initially told property owners in June 2007 they could be fined $1,000 a day when the small sandbags used to reduce erosion got washed away in storms and were strewn along the entire South Carolina coast.
But property owners countered that they were told by the agency to use the small sandbags.
“They wanted it over with. We wanted it over with,” said John O’Hare, an owner and homeowner’s association president at one of a half-dozen complexes that agreed to the payment. “It’s a negotiated settlement because I told them we would not pay a fine because we hadn’t done anything wrong.”
Dan Burger, a spokesman for Ocean and Coastal Resource Management, told The Post and Courier of Charleston in an e-mail that the settlement reflected property owners’ efforts to clean up the mess.
But the Coastal Conservation League disagrees.
“These sandbags littered our beaches and creeks from Georgia to the North Carolina line,” said league spokeswoman Nancy Vinson. “The minimum fine for littering in South Carolina is $200. Yet these condo owners, who were repeatedly warned and ordered to remove these sandbags, are fined just 18 cents per bag.
“Something is very wrong with this picture.”
Information from: The Post and Courier,
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