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Save a Beach, Save a Home

Posted on 03 September 2010

We like the fact that oceanfront owners in Sagaponack and Bridgehampton are seriously looking at banning together to protect their property, and ultimately local beaches, from erosion by way of a self-taxing Beach Erosion Control District.

In our experience, it’s unusual to find a group of people willing to tax themselves. And while this group has an obvious vested interest in self taxation (that being their oceanfront homes), by creating such a district, they will also be leveraging their ability to protect the ocean beaches which we all enjoy. As a taxing district, they would also be eligible to apply for federal reimbursements in the event of an outlay of money in the aftermath of a storm — which could come sooner than we would all like. Homeowner Gary Ireland also feels that the district would add leverage to residents’ complaints against the Army Corps of Engineers, whose East Hampton projects many believe caused the erosion in the first place.

By being proactive and building up the buffer zone between home and ocean, these property owners are also less likely to need to use FEMA flood insurance due to damaged or lost homes. As taxpayers, we would much rather see federal funds used to pay for reimbursements that nourish beaches we all enjoy, rather than claims on private oceanfront property enjoyed by a select few.

While we understand that the dollar amount this taxing district might require may be a huge burden for a few homeowners — specifically those who inherited their property and would never have been able to purchase it today — we feel with oceanfront property, there are always options such as renting it out for a month or two in the summer. Seems like a small price to pay to save a home, and a beach. 

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