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Sep 12, 2012 10:10 AMPublication: The East Hampton Press

Oceanfront Homeowners In Wainscott Are Also Exploring Beach Rebuilding

Sep 18, 2012 3:41 PM

As oceanfront homeowners in Sagaponack, Bridgehampton and Water Mill consider funding a massive rebuilding of the beaches on the eastern end of Southampton Town, their neighbors in Wainscott and Quogue are reportedly mulling whether they should pool their financial resources—as well as those of their neighbors—to bolster the beaches in front of their homes, as well.

According to local officials and some of the residents and experts who have marshalled the Sagaponack-Water Mill project, residents of the short stretch of East Hampton Town oceanfront that lies east of Sagaponack Village, where the massive beach rebuilding would end, have also begun exploring the possibility of organizing their own beach nourishment effort to piggyback on the larger project. There are only nine properties between Sagaponack and Georgica Pond, but homeowners there have spoken to East Hampton Town officials about the possibility of forming their own erosion control district, which would allow the town to levy taxes on them to pay for pumping sand onto the beaches there.

East Hampton Supervisor Bill Wilkinson said this week that he met with some of the Wainscott homeowners several months ago to discuss the possibility of forming a special taxing district and whether the town would handle the bonding to pay for it. The group had also been talking with members of the Wainscott Citizens Advisory Committee as well, but the supervisor said the Wainscott homeowners have not reached out recently about what more would be needed for the town to move forward.

Aram Terchunian, co-owner of the engineering firm that helped design the proposed Sagaponack-Water Mill beach rebuilding work, said that the Wainscott beachfront presents a particular difficulty for homeowners there because there’s so few properties involved. Those homeowners would never be able to fund an entire independent project on their own, he said, because of the high mobilization costs to get the giant dredging vessel to the region. Rather, he said, they would have to piggyback on the Sagaponack work—paying a pro-rated portion of the total mobilization costs as well as for the actual sand pumped onto their beaches—and that doing so would require a substantial amount of organization and work to execute before the already planned project gets under way.

“They could never just pay to do their own project,” Mr. Terchunian said. “They would have to do a … share of the other project based on benefit. It will depend on the timing.”

The organizers of the Sagaponack-Water Mill project have said they hope to get the project completed this winter, in the November to March window mandated by state environmental laws. But the project has yet to be approved by the Southampton Town Board or scheduled for a referendum of the 125 individuals and entities who own property within the two taxing districts. If the project is approved and gets a supporting vote, as expected, the timing of the dredging will depend primarily on whether one of the specialized dredging vessels is available to do the work this winter. If the project can’t get done this winter, it would be pushed to the winter of 2013 or 2014—possibly giving the Wainscott residents time to organize and get a parallel project designed.

East Hampton Village Administrator Larry Cantwell said that residents of the village have not voiced any interest in forming an erosion taxing district or conducting a major, privately-funded beach rebuilding as of yet, despite severe erosion that has wiped away much of the ocean beach and dunes at Georgica Beach.

Mr. Wilkinson said, however, that there have been conversations held in Montauk about forming an erosion control taxing district to combat chronic erosion there but that the talks there have not progressed much.

With the Army Corps of Engineers making it clear that even the grandest plans in its sprawling report on erosion and needed solutions for the beachfront from Fire Island to Montauk Point do not include a major renourishment of the badly eroded beaches near downtown Montauk. Mr. Wilkinson said that regrettable decision by the federal government effectively leaves local business owners with no choice but to shoulder a massive financial burden themselves, either for a beach rebuilding project or stop-gap measures.

“The owner of the Royal Atlantic hotel, he probably puts $70,000 or $80,000 worth of sand on the beach on his own every year,” Mr. Wilkinson said, adding that he would expect the consideration of taxing districts to move forward as it becomes more apparent that government entities are not going to sweep in to bolster beaches. “I’d say it’s long overdue. It’s just about calculating whether or not its achievable. The federal government has ignored everything east of the Shinnecock Canal.”

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Tell these homeowners too buy their own sand from a sand pit and don't steal sand that doesn't belong to them. I have lived here my whole life some years the shoreline is 10 ft from dune to water, Other years it is hundreds of feet. Why should the town risk putting up millions and using their ability to get cheap money to help rebuild the beach. Let these wealthy people get a home equity line like everyone else and fix their property.Can we make a roofing district and everyone in town can get the ...more
By chief1 (2800), southampton on Sep 12, 12 11:55 AM
“The 'trickle-down' theory: the principle that the poor, who must subsist on table scraps dropped by the rich, can best be served by giving the rich bigger meals.”

~ William Blum

I guess it boils down to where they shall find their "scrap" sand?
By Mr. Z (11847), North Sea on Sep 13, 12 6:36 AM

Your last line makes no sense. The people who live along the beach are still paying for it via their taxes, it's not akin to putting a roof on your house at all - the Town gets the bond but it's backed by the taxation district.

Also, residents in East Quogue and Hampton Bays have purchased sand from the local sand mine through their existing taxation district. But it's not the same as pumping sand from the sea. I'm not saying one is better than the other, or that I'm ...more
By Nature (2966), Hampton Bays on Sep 12, 12 12:08 PM

The article states: "The project calls for about 1.5 million tons of sand to be pumped from natural stockpiles a mile or more offshore onto the beaches of Quogue"

Nature doesn't "stockpile" anything.
By Nature (2966), Hampton Bays on Sep 12, 12 12:08 PM
The sand under the ocean should stay there-that's where nature wants it
By EastEnd68 (888), Westhampton on Sep 12, 12 12:34 PM
i heard from a lifetime local that the trustees sell alot of sand that they dredge from the beaches .. he was speaking of the Village of SH trustees .. do all the villages do this? is it common knowledge or is this something kept hush hush ??
By david h (405), southampton on Sep 12, 12 1:00 PM
Southampton Town trustees sold sand from the Mecox cut to Southampton (or at least they were considering it - not sure of what actually happend in the end).

I know of some instances where sand dredged from Town bottom lands (again, in Mecox) were deposited on the property of a private owner who benefited from his property being raised in elevation without any compensation to the Town/taxpayers. The Trustees "never realized this" (oops).

Currently in Flanders there's a plan ...more
By Nature (2966), Hampton Bays on Sep 12, 12 1:16 PM
1 member liked this comment
the trustees in the past have sold sand from mecox bay dredging to contractors who then sell it to homeowners. Suffolk County dredges channels and inlets in the town every year and often puts the spoil on private property- the county decides where the spoil goes- it has to be near the dredge site because it is pumped through a pipe.
By CaptainSig (716), Dutch Harbor on Sep 13, 12 6:48 AM
Just had lunch with 3 friends-we discussed this idea and the conclusion was, that if Bob Friedman is involved then we should be voting NO.
By EastEnd68 (888), Westhampton on Sep 12, 12 2:36 PM
Another Site had an article last week about Quogue scraping it's beaches to build new Dunes. Now they want to add sand to the same beaches they just scraped a foot of sand off of? Sounds a little counterproductive.
By G (342), Southampton on Sep 13, 12 7:31 AM