DHEC board rules against staff on Folly Beach permit

The state beach management agency doesn’t have the authority to prevent beachfront homeowners on Folly Beach from armoring their homes, according to the agency’s board.

The Department of Health and Environmental Control board made that ruling Thursday after hearing an appeal by homeowners Bert and Stacey Weiss. The DHEC staff had denied a permit for the Weisses to build a wall on the side of their property.

The Weiss property is behind the beach construction baseline, which was set long ago. The house was built in 2009 on a row in front of the beachfront houses, but the beach has eroded severely since then. DHEC allowed the Weisses to build a seawall but denied the permit for a structure to protect the side of their property.

The Weisses’ lawyer argued that an exception to beach management rules that affects only Folly Beach takes away DHEC’s permitting authority on the land side of the construction baseline, even if that area is covered by water at high tide. The board agreed, voting 3-2 to overturn the staff ruling