Demolished dunes may lead to legal battle, North Litchfield residents are concerned

News13 Digital First

NORTH LITCHFIELD, SC (WBTW) – A hundred years of North Litchfield sand dunes have been demolished by a work construction company building on a subdivided oceanfront property.

A North Litchfield home off Parker Street was sold in August and torn down on December 13th. Just two weeks following on December 28th, North Litchfield residents noticed more than just a house was being torn down as bulldozers cleared years built of natural barriers, most claim they know not to touch.

“It’s a universal reaction you can look and see that a sand dune is a natural dike that’s been there through hundreds of years. It lasted through Hurricane Hazel, Hurricane Hugo, and every storm in between and it’s still there until somebody comes with a bulldozer,” North Litchfield resident Alex Salley said.

Surrounding beaches are known to spend millions of dollars restoring dunes while just before this December 28th demolishment, North Litchfield had built up natural, treasured protection.

In addition to no permit, residents say the property has been subdivided and approved for two nearly 6,000+ square foot homes.

Salley’s grandmother bought the property back in the 1950s and said deed restrictions have always prevented subdivisions on any of these lots avoiding high density in the area.

Now, the county is stepping in.

“In this instance, OCR was alerted to the issue, they went out and had a look and determined that where it is being moved is actually behind the line of where they manage so it is the county ordinance that comes into play,” Georgetown County PIO Jackie Broach-Akers said.

For those who call this area home, they are giving it every attempt to save the barrier that’s always protected them.

“I mean I have pictures of my grandmother’s house which is right there that she used the dunes and built into the dunes, that was 66 years ago but they knew then and we should know now,” Salley said.

The South Carolina state law and Georgetown County ordinances pledge protection to sand dunes, stating any removal damage or interference as “unlawful.”

“We will have to seek legal advice from our attorney before we can move forward and make a permanent decision on what’s going to happen but for the moment a stop-work order has been issued, Jackie Broach-Akers said.

The work stop order will give the county time to investigate and decide further action. Residents say they will join the county council in a circuit court hearing.

Count on News13 for updates on this story.

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