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Jan 4, 2011 6:20 PMPublication: The East Hampton Press

Erosion, Not Snowfall, Is Blizzard's Main Impact In East Hampton

Jan 4, 2011 6:20 PM

The snow from last week’s blizzard is mostly gone, but devastated shorelines and flooded properties in East Hampton Town stand as a reminder of the gale-force winds and heavy surf that buffeted local beaches in the days after Christmas.

The nor’easter came just a couple of feet from causing a Montauk house to topple into the Block Island Sound, and swept away dunes along Lazy Point in Amagansett and along the ocean beaches of both hamlets. Shorelines throughout the South Fork were eaten away, but the damage was most severe in the region’s easternmost point, according to Aram Terchunian, a coastal geologist with First Coastal Corporation in Westhampton Beach.

At the height of the storm, in the early morning hours of December 27, waves off the coast of the South Fork reached 19 feet high, Mr. Terchunian said, and wind gusts in excess of 50 miles per hour were reported. The storm surge coincided with high tide that night, compounding the damage to the shoreline. Mr. Terchunian said on Monday that his company was still calculating the cubic yards of sand that was swept from the coastline.

In the wake of the storm, more than 70 residents crowded into East Hampton Town Hall for a Town Board meeting on Tuesday, and many urged the town to act toward both short-term and long-term solutions for erosion. Most of the speakers charged that beaches in Montauk and Amagansett have been disappearing for decades, and the damage from last week’s storm was exacerbated by years of inadequate action by officials at all levels of government.

One resident, Terry Bienstock of Soundview Drive in Montauk, said he and his neighbors planned to file suit within the next few weeks against town, county, state and federal governments for allowing the beaches to disappear along Culloden Point. Mr. Bienstock blamed a jetty at the inlet to Lake Montauk for accelerating erosion east of the inlet over the years.

Town Councilman Dominick Stanzione said he had submitted a preliminary damage assessment report to Suffolk County that morning—the first step toward securing a federal disaster declaration, which would make federal aid available to the town and its residents. The town’s early estimates put the damage to private properties at $3 million and the damage to public properties at $1 million.

Among the public property that sustained damage in the storm is Gerard Drive in Springs, which needs to be reconditioned, a town parking lot at the end of West Lake Drive in Montauk that needs to be rebuilt, and the inlets of several town waterways that were shoaled and need to be dredged, according to the town officials.

Federal Emergency Management Agency officials will come to East Hampton Town on Wednesday and Thursday to survey the damage, Mr. Stanzione said. The federal government could reimburse the town for the damage to public property, and could make long-term, low-interest loans available to residents to finance repairs to their properties, he said.

The most striking example of storm damage took place on Captain Kidd’s Path in Montauk, where waves annihilated the timber bulkhead of a property overlooking Block Island Sound, scouring land out from beneath a two-story house until part of its foundation washed away. On December 28, a team of contractors obtained emergency permits from the town and the State Department of Environmental Conservation and began a last-ditch effort to save the home, as it teetered yards above the water.

Keith Grimes of Keith Grimes Incorporated, a marine contractor based in Bridgehampton, and his team began filling in earth beneath the house that day, using 19 dump trucks to haul material to the site and working until 1 a.m. the next day, racing against the next high tide, according to his wife and business partner, Susan Grimes. Drew Bennett, an engineer based in East Hampton, also supervised the work, she said.

By the end of that week, another firm, Davis Construction Building Movers of Westhampton Beach, was able to prop up the house with wooden braces, and Mr. Grimes had begun using an excavator to lower five-ton rocks to the edge of the water. He planned to drive in a temporary steel bulkhead to stabilize the property this week, Ms. Grimes said.

The homeowner, Frank Devito, told the Town Board on Tuesday that the emergency repairs alone cost $250,000, and that the damage to his property “is the result of many years of neglect” by the federal government, which owns the nearby inlet, and the town.

“If FEMA has any trouble finding our house, it’s the one with cranes and heavy equipment in front,” he quipped before leaving the podium.

Virginia Bennis, who lives on Mulford Lane on Lazy Point, said that several properties in her Amagansett community were flooded during the storm, which destroyed cars and decks. Standing before the Town Board on Tuesday, she blamed the nearby inlet to Napeague Harbor for heavy erosion in recent years.

Paul Monte, the president of the Montauk Chamber of Commerce and the owner of Gurney’s Inn, said his oceanfront resort sustained about $250,000 worth of damage in the storm, which washed away decks and left drainage equipment exposed. “In my 42 years of living out here, I’ve never seen that happen at the Gurney’s beach,” he told the Town Board.

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They should have had a house moving company pick it up and move it back last week and not have asked a contractor to make a heroic effort to shore it up. Can't win against Mother Nature. I remember huge house on the ocean in Southampton that was saved by moving it at the last second.
By goldenrod (505), southampton on Dec 27, 10 12:27 PM
3 members liked this comment
From the looks of it the house moving company would have had little ground with which to work. That whole bank appears to be unstable.
By Slim Pickens (20), Southampton on Dec 28, 10 4:29 PM
Hope the town sends the owner a bill for all the extra police hours and ETC
By jose1 (28), southampton on Dec 27, 10 6:37 PM
1 member liked this comment
Really? Should they send you a bill to process an accident report? A lost child? A burglary? A noisy neighbor?

The owner gets a bill every year for police services - his tax bill.
By VOS (1241), WHB on Dec 28, 10 11:37 AM
Processing an accident report is SOP as is responding to any of the above examples. I don't think guarding someones private possessions is a normal police service and shouldn't be put on the shoulders of the taxpayer. If they can afford a home on the water they can afford a private security firm to make sure no one goes near the place.
By Slim Pickens (20), Southampton on Dec 28, 10 4:37 PM
1 member liked this comment
Read much, Slim? An officer "stationed in the area" is not the same as a cop guarding someone's private property.
By VOS (1241), WHB on Dec 29, 10 12:35 AM
I read enough to know that not everything is black and white.

Since "stationed in the area" is quite vague how can you tell anyone with certainty what it is and what it isn't?
By Slim Pickens (20), Southampton on Dec 29, 10 6:28 AM
Bla Bla Bla.... Punish those evil rich some more. Dare they have such a nice home on the water. Its karma I tell you. Those evil rich should have to pay more taxes,pay our union dues, hire a private security firm and pay all our montages as well. Yes we can!
By joe hampton (3461), south hampton on Dec 29, 10 1:01 PM
Leave it to joe to inject some teabaggery into the conversation. Dude, you need to find a new scapegoat
By razza5351 (551), East Hampton on Dec 29, 10 2:28 PM
The difference between a Conservative and a Liberal is that everyday is the 4th of July to a conservative. To a Liberal, everyday is April 15th...
By Draggerman (955), Southampton on Dec 30, 10 9:11 PM
really, how busy are the cops this time of year anyway?
By reality 101 (137), East Hampton on Dec 27, 10 8:07 PM
Then what's the point in them being there?
By patrick starfish (3), hampton bays on Dec 27, 10 8:42 PM
By local (106), north sea on Dec 27, 10 9:25 PM
That house is hideous anyway. Why are there ugly homes like these all over the east end???? They should all fall into the ocean.
By sag631 (5), sag harbor on Dec 28, 10 8:20 AM
2 members liked this comment
Maybe you could be in it when it sets sail
By joe hampton (3461), south hampton on Dec 29, 10 1:03 PM
Hopefully you'll join him
By razza5351 (551), East Hampton on Dec 29, 10 2:28 PM
Actually if its headed south and away from NY I would welcome the change in attitude and values
By joe hampton (3461), south hampton on Dec 29, 10 10:01 PM
frank and lynn probably paid much less than it's presently insured for and would love to see it fall into the sound. just a hunch
By uncleronk (136), southold on Dec 28, 10 11:57 AM
i remember years ago the dawn moving company moved a house on dune road away when its foundation had partially collapsed. dont think it was this bad but you never know what can be done. worth a shot feel bad for these folks!
By remington (5), manorville on Dec 28, 10 7:54 PM
The property they live on doesn't appear to be big enough to move the house very far inland.
By Slim Pickens (20), Southampton on Dec 29, 10 6:36 AM
By reality 101 (137), East Hampton on Dec 28, 10 8:52 PM
amen to the comment about ugly houses so true, and the funny thing is they are really expensive ugly houses
By reality 101 (137), East Hampton on Dec 28, 10 8:54 PM
Good riddance, to bad rubbish.

Even the Native population knew better than to build on roving dunes...
By Mr. Z (11847), North Sea on Dec 28, 10 11:00 PM
We have all built on a glacial terminal moraine which doesn't speak to highly for us, not nearly as highly as we think of ourselves. I think in terms of things such as being in tune with the earth and the practical places to plant, hunt, live the Native Americans were far superior to us.
By ICE (1214), Southampton on Dec 31, 10 2:53 AM
I do agree with the style of the home being horrible, that white PVC fencing and vinyl siding should be banned. Cedar Shake or build up- island.
By ICE (1214), Southampton on Dec 31, 10 2:55 AM
you people would find more peace in your life off of the computer if you didn't wallow in the negative.
By ghostofxmaspast (32), east hampton on Dec 29, 10 7:01 AM
1 member liked this comment
In reading over your past comments one might wonder why you don't take your own advice.
By Slim Pickens (20), Southampton on Dec 29, 10 12:36 PM
ghostofbaggerpast posts some of the worst drivel here, attacks others and then turns around and scoffs at everyone else. Maybe he could find more peace in his life off of the computer if he didn't wallow in hypocrisy.
By razza5351 (551), East Hampton on Dec 29, 10 4:43 PM
By joe hampton (3461), south hampton on Dec 29, 10 1:02 PM
Let it fall let it fall let it fall,one less eyesore to look at.
By Etians rd (543), Southampton on Dec 29, 10 1:33 PM
Because scrub weeds and nasty grass is much more appealing to the eye. I think the homes are beautiful to look at of coarse I do not look at them through green shaded glasses
By joe hampton (3461), south hampton on Dec 29, 10 10:04 PM
More likely they are a source of your income...
By Mr. Z (11847), North Sea on Jan 2, 11 5:00 PM
This comment has been removed because it is a duplicate, off-topic or contains inappropriate content.
By Erok, Southampton on Dec 29, 10 6:12 PM
1 member liked this comment
By jose1 (28), southampton on Dec 29, 10 10:13 PM
I'm really afrid that not only will homes be falling into the ocean but we will see the end of Route 27 as well in the future unless the Town wakes up and starts to think seriously about erosion and their no hard surfaces allowed erosion policy. The Army Corps of Engineers does not waste time on phony science such as the no revetment policy. Look at the cut-in at Lake Montauk...look at the Lighthouse.PRESTO.........no more erosion. DUHHHHHHHH.
By 708ditch (5), montauk on Dec 30, 10 1:47 PM
1 member liked this comment
LOL PRESTO...... no more erosion? Voila....problem solved? Look at the aerial satellite view of 16 Captain Kidds Path. Notice the eastern and western ends of the buklhead where the sand has washed away and the entire bulkhead juts out into the water. Where will the bulkhead that protects Eastern Long Island start and where will it end so that the sand doesn't get sucked out from behind it? How much will it cost and who is going to pay for it? How much time will it buy us from the inevitable? Inquiring ...more
By Slim Pickens (20), Southampton on Dec 30, 10 4:17 PM
What should be used as the gauge for wether or not one can protect their property? By this I mean, if I am willing to pay for a hardened structure to protect my waterfront property than why should the Trustees or DEC be able to stop me? Their reasoning is flawed and weak generally. I think they just get all excited when they say the word NO, it seems to be all they know how to say.
As for your question about where the bulkhead to protect the east end will start and end, which I'm sure you thought ...more
By ICE (1214), Southampton on Dec 31, 10 2:26 AM
I don't consider my comment about where to start and end the bulkhead witty. It is a practical consideration. Years ago I held the same beliefs as you. Why shouldn't everyone be able to do anything they please? Then I became involved in a project which consisted of building a gabion wall which protected someones land on the water. Twenty five years later I see that while the wall is still intact the land to the east and to the west has eroded away. The neighbors to the east and west whose land is ...more
By Slim Pickens (20), Southampton on Dec 31, 10 8:07 AM
I don't think everyone should be able to do as they please nor do I think that they should be allowed to do nothing. On the ocean and sound these questions are much more difficult than in the bays. There are plenty of areas that will need to be protected over the next decade or so. If we don't let the property owners do it on their dime, then eventually we will collectively pickup the bill when a road or other public infrastructure is threatened.
We have already started the hardened shorelines ...more
By ICE (1214), Southampton on Jan 6, 11 10:00 PM
oh well
By docben (5), bellmore on Dec 30, 10 2:23 PM
I'm sorry that the resident lost his home but why were there no pilings under the house? Did he think that the bulkheading was sufficient? Were the bulkhead not being repaired, would the house still be here?

Talk about bad luck. I would imagine that the bulkhead repair was scheduled for the dead of winter to avoid the possibility of hurricanes. Despite predictions to the contrary, the work could have been performed under the benign sun of August.
By highhatsize (4217), East Quogue on Dec 30, 10 5:00 PM
all of montauk should just wash away. just a bunch of kooks out there any ways
By Bilge Water (131), Southampton on Dec 30, 10 5:26 PM
2 members liked this comment
Your douchbaggery is astounding!
By ICE (1214), Southampton on Dec 31, 10 2:28 AM
As is your tact.
By Slim Pickens (20), Southampton on Dec 31, 10 8:43 AM
Better to be a douche bag than a douche nozzle, i always say.
By Bilge Water (131), Southampton on Dec 31, 10 10:40 AM

(delete mental image delete mental image)...damn! unresponsive
By loading... (601), quiogue on Dec 31, 10 1:27 PM
its in the water
By asurest (117), easthampton on Jan 5, 11 7:32 PM
I guess they never read The Three Little Pigs.

Anyway...they can afford a mansion on the ocean, obviously a second home...But where are their brains and common sense? They never thought ahead? Now the police dept. is supposed to guard it for them? What is wrong with this picture?

Sorry, no sympathy here.
By AnonymousSgh (183), Sag Harbor on Dec 30, 10 5:41 PM
1 member liked this comment
Wrong button. If this is your idea of a mansion, you sure aim low!
By ICE (1214), Southampton on Dec 31, 10 2:30 AM
Mansion is a hard word to define. To grow up poor or lower middle class a mansion might mean a paid off 4 bedroom ranch with a nice yard. To grow up spoiled with a sense of entitlement a mansion might mean something completely different. What is your idea of a mansion? :-)
By Slim Pickens (20), Southampton on Dec 31, 10 1:36 PM
Something with servant's quarters, indoor pools come to mind, more bathrooms than bedrooms. Oh, don't forget the chandelier that costs as much as the 4 bedroom ranch.
I really feel for someone who would consider a 4 bedroom ranch with a nice yard a mansion. What does it being paid off have to do with the classification of the home?
I agree a mansion could have 4 bedrooms, but it couldn't be in a ranch layout....
By ICE (1214), Southampton on Jan 6, 11 9:48 PM
Nor here, either.
By Mr. Z (11847), North Sea on Dec 30, 10 9:15 PM
what a surprise
By joe hampton (3461), south hampton on Dec 31, 10 1:55 AM
In fairness do they deserve to lose this home, because they have another or maybe two others? Do they deserve less sympathy because they have some money? Do any of you know how they made whatever money they have?
Once this house goes and no bulkhead is put in, then the road is next in line to go. Who in East Hampton is ready to foot the bill through taxes for the road repair or protection. All you fail to realize that many waterfront property owners protect roads and in doing so save the rest ...more
By ICE (1214), Southampton on Dec 31, 10 2:37 AM
Money or how one makes their money is irrelevant and I think you are misinformed about what we all realize. I personally thank God every evening that there is someone with waterfront property out there protecting my road and trying to lift my burdens with little concern for their best interests. lol
By Slim Pickens (20), Southampton on Dec 31, 10 8:39 AM
"In fairness do they deserve to lose this home....."

And you call me a douchebag?
By Bilge Water (131), Southampton on Dec 31, 10 10:43 AM
LOL, you should go read "Principles of NLP" it would help you to communicate better. I referred to your "douchebaggery" which is very different than calling you a douche bag. Douchebaggery refers to an action or way of acting, as opposed to calling one a douche bag which is on an identity level and well read the book, maybe then you will understand.
By ICE (1214), Southampton on Jan 6, 11 9:52 PM
People have NO business building on roving dunes.

It's just a stupid thing to do, period. I don't suffer fools very well, and if they want to build on unsteady ground, I hope their not in the same insurance pool as everyone else. I call it foolish that homes are even built on the dunes, even outright stupid.

Self righteous ego, and typical human behavior to think they can best Mother Nature.
By Mr. Z (11847), North Sea on Dec 31, 10 7:14 PM
2 members liked this comment
Rich or poor is not the issue. No one should be allowed to intefere with the existence of the beaches. People should have access to the beaches and they should be in a natural and contiguous state. There are many parts of East Hampton where you can no longer walk the coastline because the beach is gone and replaced with rock, bulkheads, etc.

I hope the Town will do the right thing, but I doubt that this Town Board will.

By rational (7), east hampton on Jan 1, 11 3:24 PM
How about something novel , like dismantle it before the bulk of it does fall into the ocean ...
By AndersEn (174), Southampton on Jan 2, 11 10:24 AM
Insurance doesn't cover it. Hahahah
By Slim Pickens (20), Southampton on Jan 3, 11 8:44 PM
There are hundreds of people, who just read, and choose not to comment.

While you are gone, please enroll in some CAC courses. I will say, your grammar, and structure did improve in your time here.

BTW, in addition to blogging, I do work for a living, and take the time to hike more than a few miles a week.
By Mr. Z (11847), North Sea on Jan 4, 11 7:18 PM
People who own homes built on sand dunes should pay for their own insurance and not have the government bail them out. In Hampton Bays our beach is clear of McMansions, and it is beautiful. The inlet shoals up and I, for one, would rather see the money spent dredging it spent elsewhere but there is a commercial fishing fleet that is dependent on its being clear so there's a real economic benefit. Other than that, enjoy Ponquogue Beach, and hasta la vista baby to Ditch Plains.
By davidf (325), hampton bays on Jan 5, 11 11:26 AM
"In Hampton Bays our beach is clear of McMansions"

Ironically, Hampton Bays is the only place in Southampton Town which features TWO homes SOUTH of the dunes. Adjacent to Neptunes are two structures up on sticks who ignored the rules and bulldozed dunes in order to construct their homes. Before they could move in, a storm came and wiped away the surrounding sand and septic systems and the homes have never been lived in. Efforts by the Town to condem the homes have been unsuccessful for ...more
By Nature (2966), Hampton Bays on Jan 5, 11 12:16 PM
Those houses, and Neptunes, are in East Quogue. The unincorporated hamlet of Hampton Bays ends just West of Tiana Beach.
By davidf (325), hampton bays on Jan 5, 11 12:46 PM
Sand Bar Beach (which is decidedly WEST of Neptunes and the aforementioned homes) is listed as "32 Dune Rd., Hampton Bays" by the Town of Southampton on their map of Town facilities.
By Nature (2966), Hampton Bays on Jan 5, 11 2:14 PM
you seem to be right-- I looked up a May 2010 article that has the new hamlet map--they put that stuff in hampton bays, must be for tax reasons? "the Southampton Town Board this week adopted a new official map of the town, delineating the boundaries of each of the town’s 17 hamlets and unincorporated regions."
By davidf (325), hampton bays on Jan 5, 11 9:53 PM
A broken clock is right twice a day!

Those new boundaries didn't affect any taxation districts. They were revised to clear up where the actual boundaries were - so no one went from living in East Quogue one day to Hampton Bays the next. Next time you are on Dune Rd. you will see a sign that says "Entering East Quogue Fire District" or "Entering Hampton Bays Fire District" this is where the actual boundary is. Also, check the house numbers and you will see which house is the last in HB ...more
By Nature (2966), Hampton Bays on Jan 5, 11 11:04 PM
except if you go the neptune beach club web site [neptunebeachclub.net] they list their address in east quogue: Map Location:
70 Dune Road
East Quogue, New York 11942
By davidf (325), hampton bays on Jan 6, 11 9:33 AM
You're going to trust that the Goons who run the website for Neptunes know what hamlet they're in? They don't know what YEAR it is
By Nature (2966), Hampton Bays on Jan 6, 11 11:18 AM
they make a ton of money.
By davidf (325), hampton bays on Jan 6, 11 12:27 PM
YAWN bistrian is putting 12000 yards of sand back in front of one of the motels on the ocean WOW
By asurest (117), easthampton on Jan 5, 11 7:36 PM
I can understand why people don't want to lose their houses. I can even see why their crying for help (tax dollars, reembursement, code exemptions). Town government is bending over to accomadate them. They get FEMA, NYEMA, subsidized insurance, inspection tours from the town board, wild promises to change the code and ease permiting, a special town board meeting to hear it all, lots of press and who knows what was said behind closed doors. When the tornado hit Springs in July those people got none ...more
By facts man (148), east hampton on Jan 6, 11 3:51 PM
By ICE (1214), Southampton on Jan 8, 11 8:58 PM
good luck all:

"Current projections for sea level rise adopted by the California Ocean Protection Council (using 2000 as the baseline) range from 10 to 17 inches higher by 2050 and 40 to 55 inches higher by 2100. "
By davidf (325), hampton bays on Jan 7, 11 12:42 PM
Most of the news coverage from all the local media has focused on the private property damaged, and not on the aid issue. The Fema led federal aid that is mentioned and suggested is not provided to private property owners, nor the municipality where the property is located. Nor does the damage amount of the private property count in calculating the total damage numbers. The aid that could be sought, would be aid for areas damaged that were previously shored up or improved as part of a municipal ...more
By johnnytax (29), new york on Jan 8, 11 9:20 PM