Kitty Hawk, NC (WTKR) - Longtime Kitty Hawk property owner Johnny Pinner knows one thing is for certain when a hurricane threatens the Outer Banks: he must prepare for flooding.
"If it's an ocean storm, then we pretty much get flooded anywhere from 2 foot to 4 foot of water in between the highways," Pinner told NewsChannel 3.
In the past 12 years, he's suffered major flooding on his Lindbergh Avenue home three times during hurricanes, not to mention countless other times during lesser storms.
"You have to put waders on to go over there and check your property out and then you have to wait weeks for the water to go down before you can get in and try to clean things up," Pinner explained.
Last fall, Pinner watched as the water rose quickly during Hurricane Sandy, sending water flooding into the streets as far as the 158 Bypass.
"It was waist deep during Sandy," Pinner explained. "You could see it flowing just like the ocean current and it would rise to that 3 to 4 foot depth in just a matter of hours."
The Town of Kitty Hawk is exploring several ways to reduce property damage during storms and flooding events, including beach nourishment and permanent pumps.
Kitty Hawk Director of Planning & Inspections Joe Heard said in an e-mail that the Town Council is pursuing several projects.
This May, they authorized $22,454 to pay for a beach management conceptual assessment which will be a preliminary study for beach nourishment.
Another project deals with stormwater drainage improvements and a comprehensive stormwater study that was recently completed.
Kitty Hawk is also looking at ways to improve stormwater drainage in the area between US 158 and NC 12 with ocean outfalls. The Town Council was presented with the results of a preliminary study that looked at potential locations and costs at their July 1 meeting.
All the options come with hefty price tags though. Right now, town staff is developing a proposal for special tax districts to help fund storm damage reduction projects in the future.
"Once a draft map and rates are prepared, Council plans to hold a public meeting and gather public input on the proposed tax districts before proceeding with the process to have the districts approved," Heard wrote.
Pinner understands the concerns of those who don't live directly in the affected areas.
"Money is always an issue. Obviously if you live on the beach or are in between the highways like I am, raising taxes to do beach nourishment is an option," Pinner commented. "You've got people that don't live over there or don't have property there that may live elsewhere in Kitty Hawk and they're like, 'I don't want to see my taxes raised to benefit someone else.'"
He just hopes that fixes come sooner rather than later. Until then, he'll be hoping that no storms target the Outer Banks.
"I don't think it will happen this hurricane season. So we're just keeping our fingers crossed that nothing comes in this hurricane season until something can get fixed," Pinner said.
Read more about Kitty Hawk's efforts on their website by clicking here.