While the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers begins to replenish sand as part of a federally funded $230 million beach resiliency project to protect the barrier island from future storms like Hurricane Sandy, some Lido Beach residents are concerned about a potential gap in the beach that they said could allow water to flow through and flood their houses.
Officials say that some residents of the oceanfront Lido Beach Towers Condominium, at 2 Richmond Road in Lido Beach, oppose having the corps do the work on what is currently a private beach.
Nassau County Legislator Denise Ford, a Republican from Long Beach, said that some Lido Towers residents oppose the project because it would permanently open the beach to the public.
“The Lido Towers has to get everyone who lives there to agree to it, but they’re not getting that agreement,” Ford explained.
At a public meeting hosted by the Army Corps of Engineers in Long Beach on June 27, nearby residents inquired about the beach in front of the condominiums.
“Can you give us an update on the problem that’s going to be occurring at the City of Long Beach border with the Town of Hempstead border in Lido Beach with the dunes?” asked a member of the Lido Beach Civic Association, who declined to be identified. “Is there not going to be a gap there?”
Sue McCormick, a representative of the state Department of Environmental Conservation, said that it is not yet known whether or not the corps will replenish the sand in that location, but added that the corps intends to place sand on either side of the private beach, which would allow it to fill in naturally.
“That dune is of the proper elevation,” McCormick said of the current dune at Lido Towers.
“The plan,” she added, “is that even if we’re not allowed onto that private property, we will take that same quantity of sand and place it both updrift and downdrift of that parcel, and what will happen is the natural littoral drift will eventually fill in that hole with the sand that’s deposited updrift. There’s not going to be a break in the dune, because the dune in front of Lido Towers is already higher than the profile.”
The berm, dune and groin system is designed to protect seven of the nine miles of public shoreline between Jones Inlet and East Rockaway Inlet — from the east end of Point Lookout to Nevada Avenue in Long Beach — from a 100-year storm. The project began in Point Lookout in 2016. The agency completed the reconstruction of 15 jetties, or groins, along the beach last year.
The second phase of the project started in Long Beach last month and includes depositing 4 million cubic yards of sand between newly built jetties, creating dunes and constructing dune crossovers. The sand will be hydraulically pumped from an offshore barge and shaped by bulldozers and payloaders to form dunes and berms.
Additionally, 14 vehicle and pedestrian crossovers in Long Beach will be built to provide access from the boardwalk to the beach.
Army Corps Project Manager Dan Falt said that 1,000-foot sections of the beach will be closed off to allow for sand placement, which will extend the beach 200 to 300 feet between the water and the new dunes. A 30-inch pipe, running 3,400 feet from the ocean to Long Beach Boulevard, will pump sand onto the beach, and move 300 feet west each day.
Because Lido Towers is located in Lido Beach — which is part of the Town of Hempstead — town officials have been meeting with the complex’s board members to discuss a potential easement, or an agreement that would allow the corps to enter the beach and replenish the sand.
“They need space to put this 30-inch pipe and work around it,” said the town’s commissioner of conservation and waterways, Thomas Doheny. “They need an easement to get the pipe across the beach.”
Doheny said that if the corps were to enter the property to do the work without an easement, it would open the town up to “lawsuits that cost millions.”
“We’re doing everything we possibly can to get this resolved,” Doheny added.
McCormick said that she, the town and the property owners have been working to reach a deal for about two years.
“I’m a little concerned about it,” said John Corcoran, who lives on Fairway Road, just north of Lido Towers. “I know you’re saying it’s like a door that’s going to close, and we’re going to add [sand] on the right and on the left, but that’s not the answer.”
McCormick said that the sand would eventually even out with the rest of the beach profile.
The dune “will be contiguous at a minimum elevation of 14 feet,” she said. “There will be places where the dune is already higher than 14 feet, and we aren’t going to touch those natural dunes. They will remain, and we will build up to them, and there will not be any gaps. All of the crossover structures will go over the 14 feet, so there’ll be no entryways for water through the dune.”
During Sandy, floodwater inundated the lower level of Lido Towers, causing $16 million to $17 million in damage.
A Lido Beach Towers Condominium representative could not be reached for comment.