Who Should Pay?Is the newly proposed Quogue tax district in the best interest of all Quogue Village residents?
The goal should be to preserve and protect the Quogue beach, an invaluable asset to all its residents—but forming a tax erosion district is not the answer.
The village has been diligent by encouraging sand fencing and scraping the beach when appropriate. Approximately a half-mile section of the beach has been compromised, while the remaining 2.2 miles of beach is healthy and accreting. Offshore sandbars have naturally replenished and protected most of the Quogue beach since Hurricane Sandy. Also, what guarantee is there that the newly proposed offshore dredging project will not disrupt or disturb those critical sandbars?
The existence of a half-mile endangered area of the beach is not a coincidence but the result of manmade errors, misfortune and misjudgment. Yet, the proposed tax erosion district is structured to include a majority of property owners with healthy beaches. Why should these residents finance the other homeowners, who have placed themselves into jeopardy—by buying where they chose, by seeking variances, by building extensions, swimming pools, decks, all of which are in front of the coastal erosion flood line?
Furthermore, the irresponsible property owners have placed geo-textile structures in front of their properties, without accounting for the negative effects to the beach. This is a perfect storm of unintended consequences!
The counter-argument that the creation of the compromised beach is attributed to a sand deficit suggests that the sand deficit is not affecting the rest of the beach. This is no coincidence, especially when buildings and structures near the shoreline can destabilize the dunes and the geo-textiles can negatively impact the beach.
Why should property owners with healthy beaches be penalized with a tripling of their taxes, especially after they have been paying for successful sand fencing on their own and sand scraping through their taxes? These onerous taxes encourage the opposing property owners to pool their funds and seek legal assistance.
The owners with compromised beaches do have an alternative, but they just won’t be receiving financial aid. If you had a home swallowed up by a sinkhole, would you expect your neighbors to pay for it?
There are many convincing arguments against sand dredging, but the most compelling argument against the proposed tax erosion district is the lack of justification for the arbitrary and undemocratic selection of participants who did not create the problem and who have healthy beaches.
Let the property owners who want the project for cosmetic purposes or protection stand by their own decisions and assume their risks of ownership without burdening others who may have been more responsible with their choices.
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