Home News Local News Town to seek emergency permit to replenish severely eroded town beach

Town to seek emergency permit to replenish severely eroded town beach

Erosion at Town Beach in Southold which is in need of emergency repair, pubic works director Jeff Standish told town board members today. Photo: Denise Civiletti

Southold Town will seek permission for an emergency beach replenishment at Town Beach, where winter storms have caused significant erosion.

“There was quite a bit of devastation. The beach is about five feet from the parking lot,” public works director Jeff Standish told town board members at their work session this morning.

Standish said Cross Sound Ferry terminal manager Andy Binkowski offered the town as much sand as it would like “for free” and Southold Highway Superintendent Vinny Orlando agreed to move the sand to Town Beach.

Standish said the town engineer will prepare an emergency permit application for the project.

The free sand and transportation by town crews will save the town a lot of money, Standish said. He noted that the last time the town did a substantial replenishment at Town Beach, in 2011, it cost the town $48,000. The town was reimbursed by the Federal Emergency Management Agency for most of the expense.

“Honestly, aren’t we just throwing money into the water?” Councilman James Dinizio asked.

“It’s a popular beach,” Standish answered.

“It’s popular because we keep throwing money at it,” Dinizio said. “Maybe it’s time to stop.”

Dinizio suggested the town should maybe cut the parking lot back and let the beach be “where it’s meant to be,” but Standish said the Sound would just continue its journey inland.

“It’s not going to stop the problem,” Standish said. “If this wasn’t there,” he said, referring to the parking lot and we didn’t do this, there would be no Route 48.”

Councilwoman Jill Doherty said Suffolk County should help with this, to protect the county roadway.

“The question is do we want a beach or not?” Supervisor Scott Russell asked. Do we invest the money to save it or let nature take its course — and we lose the beach?”

Standish said in his estimation, “one more storm and we’d definitely be in the parking lot.”

He said he was unsure of the cost of the project — which will require a contractor to grade the beach, but the $5,000 he budgets annually for maintenance of the beach would probably be insufficient.

A majority of the board gave Standish the green light to move forward.

Binkowski said the sand the ferry company is donating to the town was dredged from the channels used by the ferries.

“We have a pretty big supply,” he said in an interview this afternoon. “If the town beach needs it, we’d be happy to donate it,” Binkowski said.


Correction: A previously published version of this article misstated Councilwoman Jill Doherty’s surname.

Denise Civiletti
Denise is a veteran local reporter and editor, an attorney and former Riverhead Town councilwoman. Her work has been recognized with numerous awards, including a “writer of the year” award from the N.Y. Press Association in 2015. She is a founder, owner and co-publisher of this website.