The Community Preservation Fund, financed by a 2-percent tax on most real estate transfers, was initiated in 1999. Since its inception, it has raised over $1 billion for open space and historic preservation in the five East End towns for community preservation and water quality protection purposes. Despite the great success in preserving open space, the eastern end of Long Island where the Eastern Long Island Chapter is based, has seen water quality become more and more impaired in its bays, lakes and coastal ponds due to ineffective wastewater treatement practices, largely septic systems. The Easter Long Island Chapter joined a large coalition of local and regional community and environmental organizations to support the successful passage of a ballot measure to extend the Community Preservation Fund in the five east end towns and allow up to 20% of the funding to be spent on water quality improvement projects which will include incentives for replacing and upgrading septic systems, installation of reactive permeable barriers to remove nutrients from flowing into surface waters from contaminated groundwater, and stormwater management projects. The chapter supported the coalitions efforts to build voter support for the ballot measure by sharing their BWTF water quality data (Easthampton & Southampton) in the community to build awareness of pollution problems and talking about sources of pollution and the importance of this source of funding for solving problems in their educational and tabling events locally.
US Army Corps of Engineers’ Downtown Montauk “Stabilization” Project
On Thursday, October 9, 2014, Eastern Long Island Chapter of Surfrider Foundation staged a protest of the Army Corps of Engineers’ proposal to construct an artificial dune on the publicly owned beach in downtown Montauk. The proposed work includes placing 14,000 sand bags – each weighing 1.7 tons – along 3,100 linear feet of the ocean intertidal zone seaward of the existing motels and seaward of the natural primary dune line in that area. The bags will be covered with a layer of sand and planted with beachgrass, a cosmetic touch that coastal geologist Rob Young describes as “the lipstick on the pig.”
This proposal flies in the face of the advice of three well known and respected coastal geologists that have reviewed the situation in downtown Montauk: Dr. Robert Young, Dr. Stephen Leatherman, and Dr. Orrin Plikey. All three have stated that sand-filled geotextile bags mimic bulkheads and other hard structures in terms of their impact on beaches. This Army Corps of Engineers proposal prioritizes the value and protection of privately owned commercial structures over that of the public beach.
Surfrider Foundation’s position is that our public beach is our greatest asset and its long term protection warrants top priority. Reflected wave energy from the geotextile bags will quickly erode the public beach. We also note that the motels were constructed many years ago on top of the existing primary dune, destroying that precious natural resource. This proposal will compound the mistakes made in the 1960s and 1970s: it will result in the destruction of the beach in addition to the already destroyed primary dune.
Surfrider Foundation members stand in the 50-foot-wide footprint of the proposed geotextile bag artificial dune that will destroy downtown Montauk’s public beach.
Stop ED-40/Save Ditch Plains
The East Deck Motel in Montauk property sold last year and the new owners are planning a massive expansion and conversion to a members-only beach club. Nestled directly behind one of the most popular surf spots in Long Island, Ditch Plains, the project is an affront to all the issues the Surfrider Foundation works on.
Water Quality – the Eastern LI Chapter has been testing water quality at this location and some of the news is not good. See our latest Blue Water Task Force water quality results. Septic systems from this area’s properties are likely to blame.
Beach Access – the property does go down to the mean high water line and if the new owners wanted to they could restrict that access. NY State Law unfortunately allows it. With a members-only club planned from the onset, this does not look good for beach access.
Coastal Preservation – this area was already impacted by Hurricane Sandy and like numerous properties along this coast, nearby owners took advantage of the “emergency” and illegally dropped rocks on the edge of their properties, sometimes on the beach. It is only a matter of time for this parcel.
Special Places – It doesn’t get much more special than Ditch Plains. An iconic and reliable surf spot frequented by world travelers, working class locals, millionaire surfers and millionaires who wished they could surf.
SURFRIDER FOUNDATION POSITION ON THE ED-40 PROJECT:
MAKE IT A PARK
The Surfrider Foundation is dedicated to the protection and enjoyment of the world’s oceans, waves and beaches for all people through a powerful activist network of local chapters with over 250,000 members throughout the world.
The Eastern Long Island Chapter of Surfrider Foundation has carefully reviewed the ED-40 proposal and concludes that this property would make an excellent acquisition for a community park. Our conclusion is based on the fact that the property is situated not only in a VE18/AE15 FEMA Flood Zone but, with the exception of a small corner of the property that is not being proposed for new structures, is entirely within the “Limit of Moderate Wave Action (LiMWA) Zone”. This zone describes areas that are not only subject to flooding, but are subject to waves exceeding 1.5 feet in height.
We also note that the property is adjacent to town-owned properties to the east and west. A significant amount of public funds have been directed toward acquiring 365 acres of oceanfront property in this area over recent years: Shadmoor Preserve (a joint state, county, and town purchase), Rhinestein Preserve (town), Ditch Plains Town Park, an unnamed 3-acre town nature preserve adjacent to the Otis Road ROW parking area, town-owned “Dirt Lot” (4 acres), a 25-acre town nature preserve adjacent to and east of Montauk Shores Condominiums a.k.a. Trailer Park, a 6-acre town nature preserve between Hoffman’s and Cavett’s properties, the 200-acre Amsterdam Beach Preserve, and the 15-acre Warhol Preserve owned by TNC.
The ED-40 property is centered on this two-mile-long stretch of public parkland.
The ED-40 property’s location adjacent to town properties, its proximity to other preserved open space along the stretch of oceanfront, Ditch Plains’ popularity as a recreational destination among town residents and visitors, coupled with it being situated in an oceanfront flood zone, makes this property an excellent candidate for public acquisition and a community park.
We also note that the current proposal by ED40 LLC, the new owner(s) of the East Deck Motel, to convert this modest 28-room motel into a 179-member private beach club would:
- Increase total lot coverage by 142%, from 24.15% to 58.53%.
- Construct a 30,219 square-foot, two-story building, reaching 35 feet tall with 5,574 square feet of decking. This building would house a new restaurant, bar and event space.
- Replace the 1,375 square-foot pool with an 7,224 square-foot pool.
- Convert the existing motel structures totaling 10,239 square feet and 1,025 square feet of decking for use as a spa, café and cabanas.
- Add 63 parking spaces to the legally existing 37 parking spaces for a total of 100 parking spaces.
- Construct a new 1,320 square-foot building for mechanicals and garbage storage.
- Build a septic system to handle waste from 537 people totaling 5,171 gallons of sewage per day.
- Place fill to raise the elevation of a portion of the property by 14 feet to construct a new septic system above the high water table.
- Remove 10,288 cubic yards of soil, earth, gravel and sand.
The proposal is anathema to Surfrider Foundation’s mission and to four of its most important mandates: sound coastal policy, clean water, beach access, and preservation of special and unique surfing locations.
Further development of this property should not be permitted. Montauk is already confronting the consequences of building its downtown motels in a flood hazard zone. Global warming has made it critically important for our elected officials and policy makers to take into account the lessons learned from the poor decisions of the past and to not repeat them in the future.
The selective purchase of key coastal properties such as this one represents the most sound policy decision. This approach serves the public good as it creates a natural buffer that minimizes future storm impacts.
Surfrider Foundation strongly opposes the ED-40 proposal and we urge the East Hampton Town Planning Board to reject the Special Permit application for a “change of use” from a 28-room motel to a private membership club that would encompass greater intensification of use on the property
For a history and all materials on this campaign click here or choose the Save Ditch Stop ED40 Category down the right side.
Dolphin Drive Beach Access/South Flora Park
Eastern Long Island Chapter’s Position via Letter to the East Hampton Town Supervisor, Larry Cantwell:
Liquid Natural Gas (LNG) Facilities
Help support NYC and South Jersey Chapters and sign the petition against the proposed Liquid Natural Gas Facility – LNG – (Fort Ambrose Terminal) off Long Island.
You can also submit a letter to Gov. Andrew Cuomo here.
For more information, please visit the NYC Chapter website.
We all share the same ocean!