While Tropical Storm Hermine didn’t wash out Labor Day weekend, it did cause damage to the $8.41 million U.S. Army Corps of Engineers geobag revetment project completed, over vocal objection from the community, in downtown Montauk last winter.
Hermine’s waves scoured the beach, exposing some of the 1.7-ton geotextile bags filled with sand that had been placed along 3,100 linear feet of beach from the Atlantic Terrace Motel to Emery Street, over the vocal objections of many people in Montauk.
While the project was expected to be turned over to East Hampton Town and the state Department of Environmental Conservation to cover ongoing maintenance costs, the DEC informed East Hampton Town on Wednesday that the town is not responsible for restoring or repairing the damage.
According to a press release issued by Town Supervisor Larry Cantwell’s office Wednesday afternoon, “Since the project has not been officially turned over to Town of East Hampton and the State of New York, the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers will be responsible for the restoration of damages caused by this most recent storm.”
The project was an emergency component of the long-languishing Fire Island to Montauk Point (FIMP) Reformulation Study, among several projects along the South Shore slated to be completed before the study is finished, due to damage sustained during Superstorm Sandy.
Originally, East Hampton had expected the Army Corps to complete $20 million to $25 million in emergency oceanfront work post-Sandy, but after months of public discord, the project was scaled back to its current configuration.
“The damage incurred by this modest storm should demonstrate to the Army Corps the inadequacy of the project and its new proposal under the Fire Island to Montauk Point plan,” said Mr. Cantwell in the release. “Unfortunately, the current FIMP plan for downtown Montauk calls for the placement of 120,000 cubic yards of sand to be placed once every four years. What is needed to protect the beach and downtown Montauk is a major beach-fill project that would pump at least one million cubic yards of sand from an offshore source to provide the protection needed in the hamlet of Montauk.”
The full FIMP report is now available for public comment, and public hearings will be held at 6 p.m. Sept. 27 at Stony Brook Southampton and Sept. 28 at the Montauk Playhouse at 240 Edgemere St, Montauk.
Congressman Lee Zeldin announced Sept. 7 that the written public comment period on the FIMP plan, which was previously set to end on Sept. 29, has been extended to Oct. 19, 2016.