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Jan 8, 2013 7:40 AMPublication: The East Hampton Press

On Fixing The Road End At Georgica Beach, Again

Jan 8, 2013 5:21 PM

First it was Irene, then it was Sandy. The road end at Georgica Beach collapsed in the first storm, was rebuilt by summer, then collapsed again last fall in the “superstorm.”

In a deja vu kind of moment, Drew Bennett, East Hampton Village’s consulting engineer, presented the Village Board with a plan for restoring Georgica Beach last Thursday, January 3. Before he was done, he’d been asked to investigate bulkheading.

The parking lot at Main Beach is bulkheaded with “virtually no visual impact,” Richard Lawler, a Village Board member, pointed out after Mr. Bennett described a plan to rebuild the road end in much the same way as was done last year. The other board members present, Barbara Borsack and Bruce Siska, also supported exploring the idea, as did Ed McDonald, the village’s beach manager, who said that over the years there had been no scouring as a result of the bulkhead at Main Beach.

Mr. Bennett said putting in bulkheading would need approval from both the Village Board and the East Hampton Town Trustees. In the wake of Sandy, he said, “the state has issued a sort of statewide restoration permit,” so permission from the Department of Environmental Conservation likely wouldn’t be a problem.

“My guess is that the Trustees will vehemently object,” said Larry Cantwell, the village administrator. He advised the board to consider the effect of “a hard edge” on the character of the beach, which he said could be “a lot different from what we’re accustomed to having there previously.”

It was agreed that Mr. Bennett would go ahead and seek bids for the project both ways to get things moving. Whatever plan it chooses, the village hopes to have its beaches in order by Memorial Day weekend; the opening of Georgica Beach was delayed last year because the shoreline had been so badly eroded by Irene and subsequent storms.

In addition to work at the road end, a sand dune at Georgica will need rebuilding, the beach itself will need more sand, and an emergency access will have to be created. Main Beach will need repairs to edging at the end of a parking lot, the reattachment of a wooden ramp, repairs to decking at the pavilion, and some new shingles, but “the building itself did quite well,” Mr. Bennett said.

A lifeguard shack was damaged in the storm, but it was in poor shape and the lifeguards would like to see it replaced anyway. Roofs at the Sea Spray cottages at Main Beach, which generate about $900,000 annually in rent revenue, sustained damage as well, but were due for roof replacement.

The Federal Emergency Management Agency is unlikely to pick up the tab for reroofing the cottages or rebuilding the lifeguard shed, Mr. Cantwell told the board, but he estimated that it was likely to cover about 75 percent of other work at the beaches, which Ms. Borsack tallied, roughly, at about $400,000.

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