NISSEQUOGUE, N.Y. (CBSNewYork) — A war is being waged over seawalls on Long Island.
They’re supposed to stop beach erosion, but some say one is actually causing erosion.
Homeowners are now drawing a line in the sand.
As CBS2’s Carolyn Gusoff reported, they’re fighting to have one neighbor tear down a massive wall.
The bluffs behind the Nissequogue homes are breathtaking – a 100 ft drop into the Long Island Sound, but the incline is getting more precarious — Peter Scott loses 2 feet of backyard every year.
“We should be allowed to build these walls,” he said.
With state and village permission, he had a massive terraced wall built, and footed with huge boulders to stave off erosion, and protect his home and property.
“We should be able to protect it. We are not taking away from anybody, there is no way they can say the beach is being destroyed by what we are doing,” he said.
A wall down the block may have to come down, the owner did not get village approval first.
“It was an audacious act of unlawfulness,” Nancy Fetherston said.
The violation added fuel to an already heated issue. Some experts argue seawalls to shore up private home’ bluffs are thinning out public beaches downstream by interrupting the natural flow of sand.
Fetherston claims seawalls are making her community’s private beach disappear.
The issue is not just in Nissequogue — across Suffolk County’s North Shore hundreds of homes are in danger, and beaches are being swallowed up by dramatic erosion.
A statewide master plan is not always implemented uniformly.
As his home teeters on a cliffs, the owner — who declined comment — may now have to tear down a six-figure seawall, while a Bluff Road neighbor’s is under construction.
“We are preserving the beach, we are preserving the coastline. If you go to Connecticut, it’s all rock walls up and down the coast to protect it,” Judi Harris said.
Two-and-a-half ton boulders may have to be moved, or even removed. The village has not yet ruled.
An attorney for the homeowner admitted, the seawall was built without village permits, and said she is cooperating full to bring it into compliance.