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Jul 31, 2018 3:34 PMPublication: The Southampton Press

Quogue Village Officials Revive Coastal Erosion District Talks

The Quogue Village Beach on Tuesday afternoon. VALERIE GORDON
Aug 3, 2018 10:32 AM

The Quogue Village Board will hold a public hearing this month to discuss the possible resurgence of a proposal to create a coastal erosion taxing district in Quogue, which would fund a revised version of a decade-old plan to nourish a 2.7-mile stretch of ocean beach along Dune Road.

The new plan does not encompass the entire 2.7-mile strethch, but rather calls for the restoration of nearly 6,000 feet along the eastern side of the municipal beach, according to Aram Terchunian, owner of First Coastal, a Westhampton Beach-based environmental consulting firm.

The proposal to create the district dates back to 2004, when a group of Dune Road homeowners in Quogue began pushing for the restoration of the area’s beaches. In order to do the work, the village secured a Tidal Wetlands Protection of Waters and Water Quality Certification permit from the State Department of Environmental Conservation in 2016. However, the project was shot down less than a year later, in May 2017, when village officials decided the job was too expensive.

Mayor Peter Sartorius said last week that his intention behind the meeting, scheduled for 3:30 p.m. on August 18 at Quogue Village Hall, is to hear specifically what Dune Road homeowners have to say. “I’m mostly interested in what they think about it,” he said.

The potential coastal erosion district would mimic that of the Bridgehampton and Sagaponack coastal erosion districts, which collect on average $1.3 million per year in real property taxes, however; only 51 oceanfront properties in the village would be required to contribute. The Town Board acts as the commission for the districts.

In order to move forward with a potential nourishment project, the municipality would need to secure a permit from the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, allowing the village to dredge sand from the ocean floor and redistribute those spoils along the village’s 6,000 foot stretch of oceanfront.

Several years ago, the project was estimated to cost between $12 million and $15 million and would have widened the beach by between 50 and 127 feet.

“We’re very unlikely to do that particular project,” Mr. Sartorius said. “That was for the whole beach in Quogue.”

The village is in the process of obtaining the permit from USACE, which has already approved the vibra-coring analysis—a technique for collecting core samples of underwater sediments and wetland soils—and subsequent grain size analysis, done in 2011 by First Coastal, Mr. Terchunian said.

"The Army corps has eveyrthing they need and is the process of issuing the permit," he said.

He added that the initial vibra-coring took a half dozen samples from about two miles offshore of the village beach. Those samples essentially answered the question: “Are we able to find sand that matched the beach?”

“We found fabulous sand,” Mr. Terchunian said this week.

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This is a real boondoggle, promoted by Terchunian, who stands to profit as the consultant to the project. There is more sand on Quogue beach now than there was 2 years ago, when the project was first set aside, especially at the western end. Spending $15 million to add sand now would be a complete waste, which is obvious to anyone who has observed the effects of the numerous winter northeasters. The sand gets taken away. Then it invariably comes back in the Spring.
By charliezap (4), Southampton on Aug 5, 18 3:09 PM