In the wake of Hurricane Sandy, Southampton lawmakers unanimously gave the go ahead for a beach replenishment plan that had been tabled until next Spring. The $24M project will expand the ocean beaches of Water Mill, Bridgehampton and Sagaponack by 60 to 80 feet by pumping more than 2.5 million tons of sand onto the hard hit shorelines.
Understandably, the biggest concern is that the cost of this will be passed on to town residents. However, the board has assured residents that this massive undertaking will be tax neutral and only affect 125 homeowners in two special tax districts. If the measure passes?it still needs to be voted on by those living in those districts?the money will be borrowed by the town and paid back by those owning oceanfront properties over the course of ten years via a special levy tax. That special tax will range from a few thousand dollars to more than $200K per year, depending on the size of the property.
The plan not adding anything to local residents' tax bills is definitely necessary, but spreading the cost over 10 years seems to just be kicking the can down the road. The likelihood of further beach erosion during that time period is basically guaranteed, necessitating another costly project and further borrowing.
We're interested in hearing what readers think about this plan. It seems like a losing battle, but if only oceanfront homeowners are paying for it, is there anything other to do than laugh at those with deep pockets trying to fight mother nature? Let us know your thoughts in the comments.
· Southampton Town Board Approves $24 Million Plan to Widen Beaches In Eastern Half Of Town [27 East]