Breakwaters are being questioned as the solution to the north end’s erosion problem; a condominium complex isn’t ready to sign off on them; and a dredging project might make the erosion problem worse.
These are the major issues that face the north end of the island and the town’s plan to stave off a fast-eroding beach at the North Shore Road beach access, which has been closed for almost a year.
At its Thursday, Dec. 17 regular workshop, commissioners learned that the Longbeach condominium just south of North Shore Road, Longbeach Condominium, is not willing to sign an easement that the state requires before two of the four breakwaters are built.
The town has been working for more than a year on a $2.5 million project that would build four 130-foot-long breakwaters offshore.
Breakwaters are rock structures that protect an area from wave energy and deflect strong currents.
The rock structures would sit 220 feet from the shoreline, and Longbeach Condominium President Bob Appel told the commission his unit owners don’t want a view of the structures from their windows.
“Twenty-one of our 88 unit owners attended a meeting this month, and not one is on board with these structures,” Appel said. “We want the sand but not breakwaters, because they aren’t very attractive.”
Mayor Lee Rothenberg warned Appel that the town could move forward with building two breakwaters in front of 360 North Condominium.
Appel was also told that if the breakwaters weren’t built in front of Longbeach, the sand that comes with them wouldn’t be available, either.
“We have a serious problem and these breakwaters are a part of the solution,” Rothenberg said. “Even if we don’t get the signed easement from you, we probably will move ahead with two (breakwaters).”
Coastal Planning & Engineering President Tom Campbell told the commission that two breakwaters at 360 North (a condominium) would help hold the beach at Longbeach, although it wouldn’t hold the town’s beach standard of 90 feet of sand.
Appel told the commission he would come back to their Jan. 21 regular workshop after polling the unit owners and holding another meeting, before making a final decision on signing the easement.
Commissioner George Spoll urged the commission to move forward with the plan, with or without Longbeach’s signature.
“Until we can prove there’s a manageable solution that’s not an economic drain, it’s in the interests of all our citizens to build these structures, with or without the participation of Longbeach,” Spoll said.
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