Eight of the nine East Hampton Town Trustees voted to approve the repair of a rock revetment on the beach in front of 7 West End Road in East Hampton Village at a special meeting on Tuesday.
Anthony Manheim, the owner, submitted plans for the proposed revetment to the trustees in August. The proposal had been the subject of some dissent on the board. Deborah Klughers, a trustee, was unable to attend Tuesday’s meeting but asked that her letter opposing the repair be read into the record.
The project, Ms. Klughers wrote, “does not meet the common trustee practice of permitting and rebuilding preexisting structures ‘in-kind, in-place.’ ” The revetment “will be 14 feet above beach level and 16 feet above beach level once covered with sand,” and greater in scope and size than what currently exists, “therefore said project is not ‘in kind, in place.’ ”
Repairs, she concluded, would potentially harm adjacent and nearby properties.
“I don’t think it’s going to be a wall 14 to 16 feet higher than it is now,” Diane McNally, the trustee clerk, said. “It’s repair and replacement of the top layers of an existing structure that is 14 feet deep.”
One end of the revetment, which was constructed in 1978, has “lagged” after storms in 2011 and 2012 exposed it, said Sean McCaffrey, a trustee. It is “in kind, in place,” Ms. McNally agreed.
The trustees, who own and oversee the town’s beaches on behalf of the public, would have to make certain that any planting of beach grass not affect title, said John Courtney, their attorney. “We need to get some sort of a mechanism to ensure they keep it covered with sand,” he said.
“But this one has been covered,” said Stephanie Forsberg. “That’s what makes this one stand out. It truly is a repair — they’re repairing something that hasn’t been unearthed since the ’70s.” The trustees, she said, have been consistent in their approval of revetment repair.
Mr. Courtney and the trustees considered the wording of a covenant mandating that, should the revetment be exposed for a continuous period of 12 months, the trustees were authorized to install sand and beach grass to cover it and to be reimbursed for the expense, or to remove the revetment entirely, also at the applicant’s expense.
The trustees’ approval would stipulate the height and depth of the revetment and the sand covering it, Ms. McNally said, which she felt would allay Ms. Klughers’s concerns. “We do understand that hardening structures along the shoreline, in the long run, are detrimental and we are trying to minimize them wherever possible. But this is pre-existing repair,” she said.
“I understand Deb’s concerns,” Ms. McNally summarized, “but I think it doesn’t apply to this particular structure. Based on what I see from the survey and the maps, they’re not enlarging it.” The original revetment will not be modified or expanded, she said, and no planting of beach grass will be allowed except via a separate application.
The applicant will be required to notify the trustees before starting work, which is expected to last two weeks, and a trustee will be there when the work commences.
The trustees were successful last fall in halting the construction of a revetment on the beach in front of the adjacent parcel, at 11 West End Road. The owner of that property, Mollie Zweig, had received approval from the East Hampton Village Zoning Board of Appeals over trustee objections. The Zweig project is now in litigation.
David Eagan, as special counsel, was the attorney who represented the trustees in their suit against Ms. Zweig. Mr. Courtney said he had discussed the Manheim application with Mr. Eagan, who had no objection to the trustees’ approval of that project.
In her clerk’s report, Ms. McNally told her colleagues that because of the weather, a scheduled meeting of the East End Trustees, from East Hampton, Southampton, and Southold, had been postponed from last night to Wednesday at 6 p.m., at Southampton Town Hall.