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Nov 2, 2012 4:49 PMPublication: The Southampton Press

UPDATE: Town Encourages Sandbags, Will Revive Beach Rebuild Plans

Nov 3, 2012 7:24 PM

Southampton Town officials say they will revive the push for approval of a massive beach nourishment project in Water Mill, Bridgehampton and Sagaponack to help restore beaches and dunes decimated by Hurricane Sandy this week.

The project still will be difficult to get done during the coming winter, however, and, in the meantime the town is encouraging oceanfront homeowners both east and west of the Shinnecock Inlet to dump tons of sand and erect walls of large sandbags in front of their homes to protect them from the ocean in the coming months.

Because of the emergency nature of the needed protection, with a nor’easter predicted to possibly hit the area midweek, the town and Town Trustees have waived all their normal approval requirements and approved the placement of sand with simple notifications to town officials, and will allow sandbagging—including the use of the giant, interwoven sandbags known as Geocubes—as long as the work is coordinated with town environmental officials. All fees and vehicle permit requirements have been waived as well.

“The immediate priority is for most homes, especially those that were undermined by the storm, to construct an emergency sand berm, and that it be done now so there is not additional damage,” Southampton Town Chief Environmental Analyst Marty Shea told a crowd of several dozen homeowners and consultants at Town Hall on Saturday morning. “Put the sand as high up from the surf line as possible, as close to your house as possible. We can work on redesigning the dune later.”

The town and state emergency permits do not allow the placement of rocks, steel cofferdams or Geotubes as protective measures. Mr. Shea said the Geocubes, which are linked together, are the preferred protection, because they deflect the energy of waves but allow water and sand to flow through them, so they do not cause erosion at their edges like hard structures.

With the foundations of dozens of houses in Sagaponack, Bridgehampton and Quogue entirely exposed and dangerously weakened by Sandy’s pounding waves, many homeowners there are looking toward the decimated beachhead and the ocean beyond, now hundreds of feet closer to their homes than it was just a week ago, with concern about the coming winter storm season.

The National Weather Service said on Friday that it is looking at the possibility of a major coastal storm forming by the middle of next week and that it could impact the tri-state region and Eastern Long Island.

Most of the damage to homes seen during the storm came in the stretch of oceanfront between Water Mill and Wainscott. In some stretches, hundreds of feet of beach and dune were washed away by Sandy, and dozens of houses had their foundations exposed and decks and outer walls ripped off. One structure, the clubhouse of the Water Mill Beach Club, was almost entirely destroyed.

Much of that area—six miles of beach stretching from Flying Point to the East Hampton Town line—is slated to receive more than two million tons of sand if a proposed $24 million beach nourishment project is approved by the town. The project had been on pace for an approval this month but was stalled by the objections of two property owners—a farming family from Sagaponack and a private beach club in Bridgehampton—to having to pay the six-figure costs of the project over the next 10 years, since they have donated conservation easements over their properties. Legislation at the state level that would allow the properties to be exempted was due to be reviewed in January, which would have meant the project could not go forward until next fall.

But on Saturday homeowners pressed town officials to pick up the ball and push the project forward on an expedited basis, and to push at federal levels to lift restrictions that would prevent it from happening this winter.

“It seems irresponsible to put this off for another year and put at risk miles of beachfront,” one resident said. “Is there a way we can deal with the Whites and the beach club that would allow this to go forward now?”

The White family, one of Sagaponack’s oldest farming families, have a development easement over all of their 24-acre oceanfront farmland—they sold the development rights to the town for $14 million in 2007 through the Community Preservation Fund—but would have to pay more than $60,000 a year toward the special property tax put in place to pay for the renourishment project. The Bridgehampton Club would have to pay a similar sum for their 12-acre oceanfront parcel, on which they donated the development rights to the Peconic Land Trust in the 1990s.

State Assemblyman Fred W. Thiele Jr. said that he would explore options by which the legislation exempting the two property owners could be expedited at the state level but encouraged the town to move forward with the project immediately regardless. “There could be some emergency thing we can do, but the question is whether two property owners are going to dictate what happens to the entire beach,” he said. “Whether they’re going to pay or not pay, it seems that action is required.”

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I think mother nature proved there's nothing you CAN do to prevent erosion... we shall see what the supposed storm next week will do to the already damaged shoreline.

It's amazing to think about the amount of $$$ that was spent on dune restoration, dredging, beach grass plantings and snow fence installation. Everyone feeling good about watching kids plant beach grass and patting themselves on the back - and the ocean completely disregarded it all in one quick blow. I'm not saying that ...more
By Nature (2966), Hampton Bays on Nov 2, 12 5:24 PM
1 member liked this comment
There is a reason that the farmers and families who have lived here for generations didn't build on the beach. You can't stop mother nature. FYI nature, google geocubes erosion control you'll see what they are talking about. But they wouldn't help.
By bubby (236), southampton on Nov 2, 12 7:06 PM
My apologies - geocubes "is" correct in that it's the knockoff name that Aram has given "his" product. It's the same as a Geotube....

It CAN make a difference in that it's much more difficult to move a geotube than move sand... but the ocean's power is not to be underestimated. It's just Aram looking to cash in. His eyes light up when storms like this come by
By Nature (2966), Hampton Bays on Nov 2, 12 7:33 PM
The dunes with beach grass that was there for years held for the most part. Those roots go down pretty far. You CAN't stop the ocean..period, building on it only hastens the demise!!
By sandydog21 (195), Southampton on Nov 2, 12 8:32 PM
2 members liked this comment
I don't know if the town board or trustees will ever figure out too stay out of the way of mother nature. Mr Havemeter in the past has bragged how he cut the Mecox inlet and sold the sand( pennies on the dollar) to contractors to remove from the beach. Well Freddy there is no beach at flying point and the houses are about too go in because of lack of sand. You removing the sand has changed the direction of the erosion. You raised the height of Mecox Bay because the cut was open because of lack of ...more
By chief1 (2800), southampton on Nov 2, 12 9:03 PM
2 members liked this comment
chief- you just have to understand that Freddy is a complete fool; then it all makes sense. he needs to sell sand because he loves to spend money- he has wasted more of trustees money on nonsense than you can imagine.
By CaptainSig (716), Dutch Harbor on Nov 3, 12 6:19 AM
You can't please everybody. Years ago the Trustees used to give sand away free to whoever opened the cut. To my mind it's better they sell the excess washed into the bay by storms and make us taxpayers some money than give it away for others to sell, which is what had been happening. Sandy washed an enormous amount of sand down the coastline beach, Sagaponack was virtually stripped of sand, and a lot of it went into Mecox. Selling some of it is not a bad idea.
By goldenrod (505), southampton on Nov 5, 12 9:01 PM
Are you kidding? It's a terrible idea! Why would you sell it when you can stockpile it so in the event of a storm (like, say the one coming this week) you can plug up the holes?

By Nature (2966), Hampton Bays on Nov 5, 12 9:08 PM
I agree with the basic sentiments, and I'm not a fan of rebuilding nor am I a fan of building on barrier islands to begin with, but your suggestion of:

The town needs too inact a law if oceanfront is destroyed it is sterilized like alot of other areas do.

will not happen because you cannot take people's property without compensating them. Look what happend in WHD - those lots were all under water and the governments were required to rebuild them which turned into the ugliest ...more
By Nature (2966), Hampton Bays on Nov 2, 12 10:02 PM
Nature they sterilize lots all the time in North Carolina. Do a search on Oak Island, and Holden Beach. The state does not let sand and hard structures installed after a disaster so people do not have enough land too rebuild where it is safe. This has been upheld by the courts and is also being done in states where the Mississippi river runs. I am huge on property rights, but if you are building on movable sand I wouldn't call that property. These houses now have septic tanks polluting our waters, ...more
By chief1 (2800), southampton on Nov 3, 12 9:42 AM
2 members liked this comment
Searched for both and found nothing... can you please give me specific search terms or info?
By Nature (2966), Hampton Bays on Nov 5, 12 9:28 AM
That's the price people pay for building where it's not wise to.
By Allergic2Stupidity (77), Riverhead on Nov 3, 12 2:21 AM
The reality of it is that all of our properties will one day be on the beach.
By Born Here (26), HB on Nov 3, 12 6:40 AM
1 member liked this comment
Correction -- in the long run there will be no beach, and no Long Island. The nearest beach will be on the southern shoreline of New England.

On the long scale of geologic time, LI is a sandy drop in the bucket! [intended]

Dust to dust . . . .

Stay safe out there if you are cleaning up moldy areas, and have a good weekend.
By PBR (4956), Southampton on Nov 3, 12 8:42 AM
Southampton Town officials certainly have short attention spans and profound memory problems IMO.

When was Sandy, last Monday?

And now they think they can replenish the beach !!!

[Article updated]

PS -- Please spend money as fast as you can, as it will only hasten the municipal bankruptcy toward which most governments are headed. Might as well take the medicine sooner rather than later.
By PBR (4956), Southampton on Nov 3, 12 2:45 PM
1 member liked this comment
So the Southampton Town Council HAS, in its wisdom, decided to contribute $$3M to nourishing the barrier beach notwithstanding that the entire benefit will accrue to private property owners and notwithstanding the Trustees' observation that, "[T]he beach is gradually moving northward. That is the way Mother Nature wants to go.”

Moreover, the observation that geotubes or geo[c]ubes are somehow different than rocks because they "allow water and sand to flow through them" is rubbish. ...more
By highhatsize (4217), East Quogue on Nov 3, 12 3:46 PM
2 members liked this comment
walked sagg main this afternoon to gibson. lots of erosion along what used to be high and greatly vegitated dunes. Billy Joel is already building "instant" dune at his property and the drop off gibson is 10'.
By xtiego (698), bridgehampton on Nov 3, 12 4:57 PM
I will never feel bad for those who CHOOSE to live on the water.
By Lets go mets (377), Southampton on Nov 3, 12 4:59 PM
Mets - just so you know there are A LOT of people who don't have a lot of $$$ and are renters who lived NEAR the water whose homes were destroyed or ruined. People in Flanders, Mastic, Mastic Beach etc. had serious flooding and many of them didn't live all that close to the water. Also, there are a lot of renters who occupied homes in areas that got flooded, or basement apartments.

Yes, there is an obvious risk when you live by the water, but when a tide has never been anywhere near ...more
By Nature (2966), Hampton Bays on Nov 3, 12 6:21 PM
I cannot believe the Town of Southampton is this foolish... no quotes from Marty Shea? Why are Marty and ATH so casual in the meeting? (Sitting on the table).

Aram and First Coastal see blood and are going for the kill - they are looking to make as much $$$ as possible and this storm is more than they could have dreamed of. If only the Town is wise enough to realize it's the exact opposite of we need.

No matter the dune depth/height/composition/structure/vegetation, the Ocean ...more
By Nature (2966), Hampton Bays on Nov 3, 12 9:22 PM
Sorry - there was a quote by M. Shea
By Nature (2966), Hampton Bays on Nov 3, 12 9:25 PM
Here we go again the town is ready too take on 20 million of debt for the benefit of oceanfront homeowners. Yesterday we had the infamous mayor of Westhampton Dunes explain how he scammed the feds into securing a piece of land that is nothing more than a low tide sand bar. Does anybody ever use common sense when it comes too building on the ocean?
The beaches in the village of Southampton are coming back and the same with the town beaches. Unfortunately the dunes are not going too come back, ...more
By chief1 (2800), southampton on Nov 4, 12 8:31 AM
Is there a Nor'easter due to clobber us this Wed?
By aging hipster (201), Southampton on Nov 4, 12 9:52 AM
People have no gas and no electric and all the town is worried about is protecting some second homes on the ocean?

By the way all you need is sand bags too protect from the ocean? LOL
By chief1 (2800), southampton on Nov 4, 12 6:29 PM
The geotubes, aka geocubes, work until one errant 2" x 4" with one 10 penny nail goes whoosing by in the angry surf. Add hundreds of such timbers to your vision. Now imagine that fabric strewn along the shore, a testimony to money spent stupidly, at the behest of Aram

Ugly as it is, the steel sheeting seems to be the only thing to hold back the voracious waves.

Sand bags are for kids. Lets get serious if tax money is going to be spent, spend it on something that will last.
By mariner (8), Southampton on Nov 5, 12 5:24 AM
" . . . steel sheeting seems to be the only thing to hold back the voracious waves . . . "


NOTHING can hold back the ocean.




Just get it.

Nothing can hold back the ocean.

Pretty simple!
By PBR (4956), Southampton on Nov 5, 12 5:30 AM
If you put in steel sheeting it may protect the immediate property behind it but over time the ocean will just remove the sand in front of it guaranteeing there is no beach left. I don't want my tax dollars spent on something that guarantees there is no beach.
By shocean (16), Southampton on Nov 5, 12 12:10 PM
As others pointed out - steel sheething actually enhances erosion. You can end up with no beach and all the areas to the west and east get extra scouring/wave energy. There is no solution - mother nature will continue to push the barrier beach north and continue to swallow the marshlands along our southshore. We built on a sandbar people - you think it's going to stay here forever?!
By Nature (2966), Hampton Bays on Nov 5, 12 12:23 PM
By clammer (23), hampton bays on Nov 5, 12 6:35 PM
arent the beaches moving south in long island & north in NJ??
i mean Democrat Point is HUGE now as opposed towhent he lighthouse was orignally built ..and Silver Point at th southeastern end of Long Beach IS HUGE versus all the old photos showing the oringal short walk to the surf ..
..and in NJ Sandy Hook gets filled in from all the jersies beaches below it ??

?thks , i mean what do i know, ...more
By david h (405), southampton on Nov 6, 12 3:30 PM
This comment has been removed because it is a duplicate, off-topic or contains inappropriate content.
By chief1 (2800), southampton on Nov 5, 12 2:19 PM
Take a walk down the beach today and watch all the money being made with that "dirty" sand! The trustees have their favorite guy pushing sand for them why give it away for free when these people are making millions...it's like the wild wild west down in Sagg
By SHgirl11968 (1), Southampton on Nov 6, 12 12:53 PM
Are the trustees really giving away sand?
By chief1 (2800), southampton on Nov 6, 12 8:09 PM
Btw - after doing research on Geotubes and their installations along the Jersey Shore, I can say that they do nothing to provide dune erosion during hurricanes. First Coastal even admits such on their website:

"These structures are a non-permanent "softer" alternative to traditional rock or steel shore protection structures. Because of its overall limited height, the structure may be subject to rolling, undermining and overtopping during severe wave attack, thus it's not intended for permanent ...more
By Nature (2966), Hampton Bays on Nov 6, 12 8:29 PM
they (?) haved been puliling sand out ot Sagg Pond for at least two days heavy cranes and large bullldozers. Today I witnessed several (4) large OFF ROAD vehicles coming west from maybe(?) Gibson beach to the very large sand piles just west of Sagg Main to refill the trucks. Is this OUR sand going to fix private beach homes? Sunday Billy Joel was creating his own duneswith MAJOR amounts of sand being brought in by private trucks. So where is this sand someone is taking from Sagg Pond going? ...more
By xtiego (698), bridgehampton on Nov 6, 12 8:48 PM
Fast Freddy Havemeyer and his merry band of trustees are not giving sand away- they are selling it for big bucks. They hauling out of Sagg and Mecox Bay since last week. Do the math- each truck figure 20 yds sand at 7 or 8 dollars a yd, times 50+ trucks/day from each spot.

Freddy sees $$$$$$ but I wonder if anyone has taken the time to consider what the effects of moving this much sand from these areas will have on Sagg Pond and Mecox Bay. Guess it doesn't matter as long ...more
By CaptainSig (716), Dutch Harbor on Nov 7, 12 7:30 AM
For those wanting a visual of what is going on @ Mecox, Scott Cameron and Sagg Pond - check out the "Hurricane Sandy Crisis Map" that google has created. It shows aerials taken on November 4th over our coast and you can see all of the heavy machinery and earth movers doing their job taking our sand away to who knows where...

By Nature (2966), Hampton Bays on Nov 7, 12 7:43 PM
They have added gas information to this map. An amazing resource.
By PBR (4956), Southampton on Nov 8, 12 8:38 AM