Rich Defend Beach Homes ... but Put Beach at Risk
Environmentalists complain beach fortifications will increase erosion
By Mark Russell, Newser Staff
Posted Apr 18, 2013 9:19 AM CDT
Heavy equipment continues working to restore a barrier dune along the Atlantic Ocean in Loveladies on Long Beach Island, NJ, Nov. 9, 2012.   (AP Photo/Mel Evans)

(Newser) – In the aftermath of Hurricane Sandy, many of the uber-rich who have multimillion-dollar beach homes in the tony town of Southampton, NY, are seeking to keep the ocean from their mansions. They've been spending big bucks ($50,000, in one case, and that could be on the low end) to install fortifications—large metal plates or car-sized boulders—on their land. But between that land and the sea sits a public beach, and environmentalists warn that many of those protective measures may actually put that beach at greater risk of erosion. Now, locals are pit against the wealthy summer-only residents, reports the New York Times.

A lawyer for one of the homeowners maintains that all the necessary permits were obtained. But some conservationists counter that the homeowners took advantage of a post-Sandy rule that allowed beach fortifications to be built using irregular standards. A coastal geologist hired by the town's board of trustees tells the Times that the barricades will cause the beach to vanish, and points out that such fortifications are banned in Texas, Oregon, and North and South Carolina. One trustee notes that his childhood home, sold in the 1960s, had bulkheads erected by subsequent owners to protect it; the sand around the metal shield has since washed away, with the wooden stairs that provided access to the beach now hanging five feet above it.

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Showing 3 of 36 comments
Lefty_Libby
Apr 19, 2013 1:33 PM CDT
My great great grandfather's home was right on the beach in New Jersey. There wasn't any flood insurance then, so when a storm threatened, he moved the house inland on rollers. He also built and owned five beach 'cottages' in the Rumson. The Robber Barons of that era (Astor, Carnegie, et al) spent their summers there, away from the swelter of Manhattan.
K.KRANK
Apr 19, 2013 2:37 AM CDT
Oh my, we're all getting a good look @ where the global warming debacle is headed lol The 1% think they are just going to be able to buy/build their way around it ;)
HMD-SMD-ITY
Apr 18, 2013 8:37 PM CDT
I loath beach owners and I delight in their domicile demise. They usually have three other homes anyway. This is from being first appalled by the sights of San Diego to San Francisco. You arrive hoping to see a nice sunset. You have to drive around a long time to get a view because of the massive swaths of private beach property. You can drive North of San Diego for miles upon miles until you reach the public areas. The same goes for much of our entire coast line in the USA and I have no sympathy for those owners who have damage. Many of the Galveston owners were told by Texas authorities to give up rebuilding their homes. I visited Ft. Walton Beach and drove for miles and miles that were obscured by 40 story condos that not only blocked the view of their private beaches, it also created permanent shade zones along the highways. Many of those high rise properties were in receivership due to the real estate crash. We finally reached the public beach and it was jammed to the hilt with people. I got a little delight that a swarm of jellyfish came in and people started leaving in droves. I'm lucky in that it takes a lot of jelly fish bites to affect me. But then a news crew showed up and I thought they were doing a story about it. No, they were doing a story about the school of sharks just an 1/8th mile away from the shore that the aviators from Eglin AFB had seen. We then folded up and called it a day to go eat some seafood.