Southampton Village Approves New Bulkhead


Construction on a new steel bulkhead in Southampton Village is slated to begin later this month.

According to a building permit issued by the Southampton Village Building Department on August 22, as part of the construction of the new, steel-sheathing bulkhead, approximately 150 feet of dunes will be restored directly east of Fowler Street.

The authorization comes in the immediate wake of the New York State Department of Environmental Conservation closing an investigation into several recent Coastal Erosion Hazard Area permits and pending permits to expand bulkheads on beaches that were approved by Southampton Village. In April, the state agency temporarily restricted the village from authorizing any permits while the applications were reviewed, a measure that was lifted in August.

At the time, critics said the oceanfront property owners, with the blessing of village officials, were using relaxed DEC oversight in the wake of Superstorm Sandy to build and expand shore-hardening structures beyond what are typically permitted in Southampton Town.

According to the application approved in August, the bulkhead was first requested by First Coastal Corporation, a Westhampton Beach erosion-control firm, on behalf of Fowler Street resident Jane Holzer on June 9, 2013. In a letter to the village from Ms. Holzer’s attorney, Nica Strunk, Ms. Strunk requests that the village expedite reviewing the application to provide as much protection as possible for Ms. Holzer’s property during hurricane season.

“Hurricane season has already started, and her property is extremely vulnerable and badly in need of protection from coastal storms,” Ms. Strunk wrote. “The application submitted by First Coastal meets all of the criteria required for the issuance of a permit from your office.”

Neither Ms. Strunk nor representatives of First Coastal were immediately available for comment on Wednesday.

According to the application, the hard beach structure will be approximately 2 feet high and roughly 150 feet long. Because the proposed space for the bulkhead is between the crest of the primary dune and the high water mark of the Atlantic Ocean, it is out of the jurisdiction of the Southampton Town Trustees.

In a letter to the village about the project, the DEC left a decision in the hands of the village.

Construction materials were being delivered to the property as of this week.

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