One of the hands-down most important public meetings of the year for East Hampton Town is to take place Monday at the American Legion Hall in Amagansett. The workshop format will be the first of a planned three-session road show, of sorts, about responding to rising sea level. The geography Monday will be limited to the shore along Gerard Drive, Louse Point in Springs, Cranberry Hole Road in Amagansett, and Lazy Point on Napeague. Each of these areas has been the site of sustained erosion, with property owners worried about their houses, investments, and plans for retirement.
Behind the scenes, officials and an appointed committee of knowledgeable residents have been working since 2016 to revisit town policies and develop a vision for the future. The goal is to encourage a long-term program centered on resilience to protect the environment, reduce damage, and maintain communities.
Billions of dollars of real estate are at risk from storms and the more insidious gradual landward creep of the shoreline. At the same time, the people working on the town’s Coastal Assessment Resiliency Plan, or CARP, must balance financial interests against the public’s right to enjoy and use beaches and waterfront parks.
The CARP team is sending an important message in selecting Springs, Amagansett, and Lazy Point for their first public session. Ordinary bad weather, exacerbated by sea level rise, is already threatening properties there. By contrast, most of the town’s oceanfront is not immediately affected by sea level rise, but rather from rare, large catastrophic storms and hurricanes.
For waterfront property owners and upland town residents alike, participation in this and upcoming sessions should be a priority.