05/18/13 3:00pm
05/18/2013 3:00 PM

TIM KELLY FILE PHOTO | The remains of bulkheading on Veterans Memorial Park beach in Mattituck are slated to be replaced this year.

Town Trustees on Tuesday approved plans to install a retaining wall along superstorm Sandy-ravaged Veterans Memorial Park beach on the bay in Mattituck.

The approved plan varies slightly from the Mattituck park commissioners’ original request to install 619 feet of bulkheading along the beach, which the commissioners say is highly vulnerable to additional storm damage.

The idea received mixed reviews when the commissioners first approached the Trustees last month. The Trustees were concerned that bulkheading — intended to protect the beach from future storm damage — would distract from the beauty of the beach.

The new site plan calls for the construction of a 619-foot retaining wall, which will be set back farther from the shoreline than the proposed bulkheading, leaving a wider beach in its place, according to Trustee James King.

[Previous Coverage: Trustees suggest installing boulders at Veterans Park]

The retaining wall will replace the skeletal remains of bulkheading on the property’s west side and the cracked and sinking concrete barrier along the edge of the parking lot on the east side with standard bulkheading. It includes two openings ­— at least one will be used for a handicapped-accessible ramp, in front of the old concession stand.

“The wall will help project the property,” Mr. King said Friday. “The community benefits from [the beach] and I’d like to see it preserved.”

It’s unclear whether the work will be completed by Memorial Day. Mattituck Park District Commissioner Gerard Goehringer said the beach will be opened to the public.

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04/26/13 8:00am
04/26/2013 8:00 AM

TIM KELLY FILE PHOTO | The remains of bulkheading on Veterans Memorial Park beach in Mattituck slated to be replaced this year.

Two Mattituck park commissioners appeared before the Town Trustees last week, seeking permission to install bulkheading along superstorm Sandy-ravaged Veterans Memorial Park beach on the bay in Mattituck.

The pair walked out of Town Hall without a yes, but also without a no — and that doesn’t sit well with the commissioners, who say the beach is highly vulnerable to additional storm damage.

“It’s a viable plan and necessary to the residents of Mattituck and Laurel, who have supported this beach since the late 1940s, early ’50s,” said Gerard Goehringer, commissioner board chairman. “This is one of the most beautiful sugar sand beaches in the world and that’s what we’re trying to preserve.”

The beauty of the beach is also why the Trustees say they didn’t automatically agree to the park district’s application to install 619 feet of bulkheading.

“It’s a wide, beautiful, sandy beach right now,” said Trustee Dave Bergen. “We’re saying let’s meet out there and look at other options.”

With the project on hold, it’s unclear whether any work can take place before Memorial Day, the traditional start of the summer season. The park district has also applied to both the Trustees and the state Department of Environmental Conservation for permission to remove storm debris, including parts of the asphalt parking lot closest to the water that were destroyed by Sandy. That work is expected to be completed in time for summer.

TIM KELLY FILE PHOTO | Some of the debris left by superstorm Sandy, which also damaged part of the parking lot.

In its application, the park district proposed replacing the skeletal remains of bulkheading on the property’s west side and the cracked and sinking concrete barrier along the edge of the parking lot on the east side with standard bulkheading. It includes one opening, for a handicapped-accessible ramp, in front of the old concession stand.

Since pressure-treated lumber is no longer permitted, new bulkheading must be either vinyl or steel. Mr. Goehringer said bids for the work went as high as $1 million and the commissioners have accepted the low bid of $315,000.

“We just built a building there in 2005 and we need to protect that building, which would now cost about $1 million,” Mr. Goehringer said of the meeting room that’s sometimes rented out for private functions. “The most westerly bulkhead is just standing there and all that sand is gone. If we have another storm like Sandy there’s nothing to hold it back.”

But the town’s Conservation Advisory Council, which offers non-binding advice to the Trustees, is adamantly opposed to bulkheading there, saying “it’s doomed to failure.”

The council, said Mr. Bergen, “felt very strongly about it.”

As an alternative, the Trustees suggested installing some bulkheading along the western side of the beach but then switching to a rock revetment, with the height diminishing from west to east. The boulders in a revetment dissipate wave action, which scours sand away from the base of bulkheading and shortens the beach, Mr. Bergen said.

The board believes the boulders could be placed farther back from the water than the bulkheading as the project is currently designed, which would leave a wider beach.

With a revetment it’s also easy to include openings to provide more than a single access point to the beach, Mr. Bergen added.

But the park commissioners remain unconvinced.

The Trustees have not approved revetment for any other shoreline area in Mattituck or Laurel, said Mr. Goehringer, a point Mr. Bergen conceded. But the Trustee added that the widespread damage left by superstorm Sandy included a considerable amount of bulkheading.

The Trustees are scheduled to take another look at the beach on May 8.

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02/28/13 12:00pm
02/28/2013 12:00 PM

TIM KELLY PHOTO | Superstorm Sandy caused significant damage to the parking area at Veterans Memorial Park in Mattituck.

The parking lot at Veterans Memorial Park beach in Mattituck took the pounding surf head-on all day and night when superstorm Sandy struck in October and the damage is still readily apparent to anyone who stops by the usually peaceful park on Peconic Bay.

A chain-link fence sprinkled with No Trespassing signs cuts across the parking lot. Beyond it, the asphalt is so heaved up and cracked it looks as if an earthquake hit instead of the remnants of a hurricane.

Down the beach, an entire section of bulkhead has washed out, leaving just the pilings, and metal tie rods that held them in place, exposed on the beach.

Mattituck Park District commissioner Nick Deegan said this week that he doubts the park will be ready to open in time for Memorial Day Weekend, since the district is currently awaiting engineering diagrams of how to repair the beach.

He said the park district expects FEMA will reimburse some of the cost of repairing the damage, which he estimated at upwards of $100,000.

FEMA has already paid $1,400 for the fence across the parking lot.

“The parking lot is under review as to whether we should resurface it as is or rebuild the end of it,” Mr. Deegan said. “We already had been in talks with an engineering firm on drainage in the parking lot. Now, of course, with the storm damage, it becomes even more urgent.”

Mr. Deegan said the bulkhead on the west side of the beach had been deteriorating for years, but during the hurricane it completely washed through.

“The storm got to it before we got to it,” he said.”

The park district had already paid a contractor to do an initial site cleanup, but Mr. Deegan said the landscaping and a small fence in front of the park building were torn out during the cleanup and must now be replaced.

A large cylindrical cement mooring found during the initial cleanup is also still sitting in the parking lot.

Mr. Deegan said he’s been in touch with Group for the East End about holding a beach grass replanting session later this spring.

“It was a nice growth, years of growth,” he said of the beach grass that had grown there. “It’s bare now.”

Mr. Deegan said the park district’s other beaches — Breakwater Beach and Bailie Beach on Long Island Sound — were not badly damaged by Sandy, though some debris did wash up. He expects they’ll both be open in time for the summer.

But for Veterans Memorial Park, “Memorial Day is going to be a stretch,” he said, adding that the best he can hope for is completion of repairs some time in June.

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10/27/10 6:59pm
10/27/2010 6:59 PM

Unless someone else jumps in by Monday night, it will be a race between Nicholas Deegan and Gerard Goehringer Jr. next month for a seat as a Mattituck Park District commissioner.
Voting is set for Thursday, Nov. 11, between 4 and 9 p.m. at the Veterans Memorial Park district office. As of press time this week, the two were the only candidates indicating they would run for the available three-year term. Monday, Nov. 1, is the deadline for filing nominating petitions.
Mr. Deegan, the incumbent, came on the board in November 2007. Mr. Goehringer was a commissioner from 1977 until 2007, when he chose not to see re-election following a flap over the board of commissioners’ plans to allow cell phone towers at Veterans Memorial Park and Bailie Beach. At the time, he argued that income from the towers would reduce taxes. But residents fought back the effort, concerned that it would spoil their parks.
Last year, Mr. Goehringer made a bid to return to the board, running against first-time candidate Charles Zaloom, who won the seat, beating Mr. Goehringer by almost 100 votes.
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