Citizens Bemoan the Corps Beach Plan

Members of the Montauk Citizens Advisory Committee let it be known on Monday that they are not too happy with the fix the Army Corps of Engineers announced April 23 to curb erosion on downtown beaches. 

The Corps offered only one option: a $6 million project to place 14,000 sand-filled geotexile bags along 3,100 feet of downtown shoreline, including the vulnerable stretch near the Royal Atlantic Motel, and to cover them with 45,000 cubic yards of sand. The plan had been downsized from more expensive ones described earlier in the wake of Superstorm Sandy.

We’re very disappointed. It all falls short. They were very promising in the beginning and now it’s an interim fix, East Hampton Town Councilman Peter Van Scoyoc said, adding that the 15-year life span of the latest proposal doesn’t offer a lot of protection. “But it doesn’t make sense for us to turn down free sand,” he said.

At an earlier meeting with Suffolk County Executive Steve Bellone and Legislator Jay Schneiderman, Steve Kalimnios, the owner of the Royal Atlantic, who said he has spent $2 million dumping sand on the beach there, had called the Corps plan “minuscule.”

The councilman noted that the East Hampton Town Board is to create a coastal erosion committee to study poststorm conditions and long-term planning. “Geologically. if you see what’s happening and we’re under water, we need to think this through. Building on higher ground is not realistic. We should be looking at larger stabilization.” Mr. Van Scoyoc said it was time for the town to put more money aside for storm remediation. “Taxpayers have to understand that money is needed for sand. It’s part of our economy,” he said.

Chris Poli, a surfer who often attends the committee’s meetings, said that while no one wants higher taxes it might be the only way to preserve the beach. “We’re going to need a lot of cooperation,” he said.

Moving on, Mr. Van Scoyoc gave the committee an update on plans for the Kirk Park parking lot. He said the vegetated islands that have been used to delineate parking spaces will soon be removed to create more. A new entrance will be added on South Eagle Street to the west of the lot for easier access. Vehicles exiting will use the existing access on the south side of the lot, across the street from the ocean beach.

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