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NC aims to stop development deal by buying Sunset Beach land

(Facebook / Visit Sunset Beach)

SUNSET BEACH, N.C. (AP) -- North Carolina taxpayers may buy out a developer who wants to build expansive beach homes on part of a barrier island considered so fragile that public money can't be spent on flood insurance, disaster recovery or utilities.

The News & Observer reported the state is prepared to pay to prevent the developer from turning the marshlands and dunes on Sunset Beach into plots for nearly two dozen eight-bedroom homes.

The state budget approved last month set aside $2.5 million for the 35 acres bordering a bird sanctuary. A required appraisal could determine the ultimate purchase price.

The state Department of Environmental Quality manages the neighboring Bird Island Coastal Reserve, a protected research area of salt marsh and tidal creeks that harbor loggerhead turtles and other threatened species.

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