Army Corps Extends Comment Deadline on Shoreline Plan

A public comment period on the Army Corps of Engineers' plans for shore protection projects from Fire Island to Montauk Point, called the FIMP plan for short, has been extended to Oct. 19.

The comment period was set to end on Sept. 29, just one day after a Sept. 28 presentation by the corps and hearing for public comment at the Montauk Playhouse scheduled for Sept. 28.

Two projects in East Hampton Town are included in the wide-ranging plan: the addition of up to 120,000 cubic yards of sand every four years to bolster the beaches in downtown Montauk and at Potato Road in Wainscott.

Town officials had hoped that the long-awaited Army Corps plan would include more extensive rebuilding and protection of the Montauk beach, and are preparing to submit alternate suggestions to the corps.

Representative Lee Zeldin said this week that he would support the town's request. He had pushed for the comment period extension, sending a letter to the Army Corps last week, and announced the extended deadline on Wednesday.

Also on Wednesday, the State Department of Environmental Conservation confirmed that East Hampton Town will not be responsible for repairs to storm damages this week to the sandbag barrier that was installed by the Army Corps on the downtown Montauk beach.

Tropical Storm Hermine exposed buried sandbags, damaging some, and scoured away the shore in front of the bags. When the project is officially completed, the town and county will become responsible for its upkeep.

Town Supervisor Larry Cantwell said yesterday in a press release that the damage "incurred by this modest storm should demonstrate to the Army Corps the inadequacy of the project and its new proposal under the Fire Island to Montauk Point plan.

Unfortunately, the current FIMP plan for downtown Montauk calls for the placement of 120,000 cubic yards of sand . . . once every four years. What is needed to protect the beach and downtown Montauk is a major beach-fill project that would pump at least 1 million cubic yards of sand from an offshore source to provide the protection needed in the hamlet of Montauk."

Hearings on the Army Corps's Fire Island to Montauk Point plan will be held on Wednesday at the Islip Town Hall annex, on Sept. 20 at the Patchogue Watch Hill Ferry terminal, and at the Stony Brook Southampton campus on Sept. 27. All will begin at 6 p.m. with an opportunity for the public to examine information about the proposed projects, followed by a presentation and question and answer session beginning at 7.

Comments may also be sent by mail to United States Army Corps of Engineers, New York District, Planning Division-Environmental Branch (Attn: Mr. Robert Smith) 26 Federal Plaza, New York, New York 10278, or by email to the project biologist, Robert.J.Smith@usace.army.mil, and the project manager, Mark.f.Lulka@usace.army.mil.