East Hampton Town Supervisor Larry Cantwell visits the Napeague-Lazy Point neighborhood with a resident of Mulford Lane, Amagansett.
By Mara Certic
The Town of East Hampton announced on Tuesday, August 26, that is has been awarded a $9.9 million federal grant to purchase a number of properties in Amagansett in order to turn them into protective storm buffers.
According to a release, the money will go toward purchasing approximately 16 properties in the Napeague and Lazy Point area, on Mulford Lane and Bayview Avenue. Some of the properties are vacant lots and some are developed and owned by people who have expressed in interest in selling out.
The program will enable homeowners to voluntarily choose to move out of the high-risk waterfront area and also to protect and possibly restore the coastal floodplain, the town said.
“With the help of this grant, achieved with the support of the Nature Conservancy and the hard work of Kim Shaw of the Town Natural Resources Department, we can preserve building parcels that will otherwise be developed and eliminate existing development clearly vulnerable to erosion and future storms,” East Hampton Town Supervisor Larry Cantwell said.
Areas of Napeague are particularly narrow, and Route 27— which is the only road connecting Montauk and the rest of the town—has been breached by water in the past, most recently for a short time in October 2012, during Hurricane Sandy.
Mr. Cantwell mentioned the very delicate stretch of land at a public hearing about PSEG Long Island’s Utility 2.0 Long Range Plan on Tuesday, August 26, when he called for an emergency energy plan for Montauk. “Montauk it 25 miles from here, it’s separated by some of the most fragile land areas,” he said. “It’s been breached more than once in our living history.”
Ms. Shaw, the town’s natural resources director, said, “We can look forward to this area being restored to natural conditions which will enhance water quality, wildlife habitat and floodplain resiliency.”
According to the town’s press release, land parcels with structures already on them will be cleared in order to put floodplain restoration efforts in place.
Director of the Nature Conservancy on Long Island, Nancy Kelley said
“The Nature Conservancy applauds the Town of East Hampton for bringing Sandy recovery funds to Lazy Point in Amagansett,” said Nancy Kelley, the organization’s Long Island director.
According to the Governor’s Office of Storm Recovery website, Congress approved roughly $60 billion in disaster aid for the states hit by Hurricane Sandy, with New York State expected to be allocated half of that total.
“Efforts like these,” she said, “as part of comprehensive plans to manage our coasts in the face of rising seas and excessive nitrogen pollution from wastewater, are vital to ensuring healthier and more resilient coastal communities across Long Island.”
A resident of Bay View Avenue for the past 30 years, Steve Graboski said the plan is “a good thing.”
“People will be able to reclaim the value from their properties,” he said. “The nor’easters are the storms that really affect us the worst. The erosion is like a chip-away effect, chipping away at the shoreline over the years.”