SC island property owners want homes torn down after beach erosion

A private island community in Beaufort County is suing the state over beach regulations — but in a twist, a homeowners association isn’t trying to circumvent the rules, but rather get the state’s help in removing six homes.

For decades, beachfront property owners up and down the coast have been in a tug of war with South Carolina, battling with the state Department of Health and Environmental Control over beachfront building regulations that can curb private property rights in the name of protecting the beach, which is a public resource.

But on Harbor Island, a gated community just north of Hunting Island, the shore has been so eroded by recent storms that some homes are now on “active beach,” or the part that is technically public land. Some of the homeowners are still engaged in fights with their insurance companies. A few have already demolished their houses or moved them to different lots.

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