MONTAUK, N.Y. (CBS 2) — The next winter storm is threatening to wash away beach-side homes in Montauk. Concerned residents, however, are not blaming Mother Nature, but rather jetties built by the Army Corps of Engineers about 20 years ago.
Homeowner Frank DeVito said that when he and his family first moved into the area, they had a “wonderful beach.” With 60 feet of the beach now eroded, DeVito blamed the jetties.
“What those jetties are doing is preventing the natural flow of sand that comes out from east to west…here,” DeVito said.
On the other side of the jetties in the town of East Hampton, the problem is just the opposite — a buildup of sand.
The entire situation came to a head during the post-Christmas blizzard. With no beach to serve as protection, the storm targeted DeVito’s home.
At the height of the storm on Dec. 26, 20-foot waves came crashing up a hill while taking out sand and undermining the foundations of the home, leaving it teetering on the verge of falling into the Sound.
DeVito said in his granchildren’s bedroom, the beds were “sucked into the ocean.”
DeVito has spent more than a quarter of a million dollars building a temporary bulkhead along with bringing in new sand, rocks and wooden supports to stabilize the condemned structure.
Cranes in the area also testified to millions of dollars of damage done to other homes.
Residents have banded together to sue the town, county, state and Army Corps of Engineers, who said they can fix the problem.
The East Hampton town supervisor said he was disappointed at the lawsuit. He also said he has been working with Sen. Charles Schumer and Rep. Tim Bishop to accelerate needed federal dredging.