After the final public hearings Tuesday, the Southampton Town Board unanimously approved a plan issue 10-year bonds for $24 million to renourish beaches from Water Mill to Sagaponack, according to The Sag Harbor Express.
The Express reports that Town Supervisor Anna Throne-Holst said the impact of Hurricane Sandy on the beaches in Bridgehampton and Sagaponack gave the project a new level of urgency.
The bonds are to be repaid by homeowners in the coastal Bridgehampton Beach Erosion Control District and Sagaponack Beach Erosion Control District
"These districts were formed at the request of the homeowners,” Throne-Holst said. The homeowners will pay the bulk of the costs, including contributing about $1.5 million for beach renourishment at public lands, she said, while park fees the town has collected will cover another $1.5 million.
But before the plan can proceed, it will have to be put up for referendums, in which only residents of the erosion control districts may vote. The Express reports that referendums are expected within two or three months.
“There will be no impact on the homeowners outside of the districts,” Throne-Holst emphasized.
There are two parcels within the district that the town is aiming to exempt from erosion district taxes, but that requires state legislation.
State Assemblyman Fred Thiele, I-Sag Harbor, was invited to the public hearing to explain why, and the procedure to do so.
According to 27east.com, the two properties belong to the Bridgehampton Club and the White family, longtime farmers in Sagaponack.
The parcels are both subject to conservation easements, Thiele said. “To impose taxes on those parcels would be counter to the goals of preservation.”
Thiele said he is working with Sen. Kenneth P. LaValle, his counterpart in the Senate, to get home-rule legislation passed in the state Legislature. “I’m hoping that we can get this to the governor’s desk by February,” he said.
Throne-Holst said that once the renourishment projects are complete, the beaches will looks like they did 20 or 30 years ago.
Learn more at sagharboronline.com.