PORT WASHINGTON, N.Y. (CBSNewYork) — Taxpayers in a Long Island town may soon be paying millions to restore eroding bluffs that are slowly collapsing, endangering homes and parks.
Houses are perched atop precarious cliffs of sand adjacent to a public golf course and nature preserve on the North Shore.
“I honestly thought that only happened in California. I didn’t think it was happening here in Roslyn,” golf patron Anthony Collins told CBS2’s Jennifer McLogan on Wednesday.
The slope is becoming very unstable. Erosion has stripped the bluffs of Beacon Hill of their topsoil. Big ravines, 20 feet deep, with toppling trees sit adjacent to the Harbor Links Golf Course.
“There’s a study that shows there’s erosion and there’s a possibility of collapse, then it has to be dealt with,” homeowner Gene Papa said.
“Obviously, we want to preserve the beauty, but also the safety of the neighborhood,” homeowner Jennie Pisnoy added.
Summit Road homes in Port Washington abut the cliffs, not far from a monument to the sand miners of old. For nearly 100 years sand mining was Nassau County’s largest industry, leaving behind bluffs 140 feet high and 1,900 feet wide.
The town acquired the bluffs from the county in a land transfer 12 years ago. Since then, severe weather events have caused more and more erosion, McLogan reported.
A “No Trespassing” sign sank in 8 feet of sand at the bottom of the bluffs.
“We want to make sure that the residents in the homes above the bluffs, that their land is stable, that no one either on the golf course or in the beautiful new bike and hiking trails that we have would be in any danger,” North Hempstead Supervisor Judi Bosworth said.
The town board will vote next week on a $6 million proposal to stabilize the nine acres of bluffs.
Clearing, stabilizing and landscaping the bluffs now, before they worsen, will save taxpayer money in the long run, town officials said.