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A recent response by Mayor Letica to an article in the Observer.

posted Aug 8, 2015, 6:17 PM by POENB Association   [ updated Sep 13, 2015, 4:44 PM ]
Editor of the Observer,
I would like to thank the Observer for its editorial supporting a restoration of the Long Island Sound side beach in Asharoken without the need for public access onto the beach. Simply put the editorial accurately explains the long struggle the Village of Asharoken has faced and sees the big picture. This is not about restoring private beaches. It is about protecting the single access roadway affecting over 2000 residents in the area, both in Asharoken and Eatons Neck. It is about the US Coast Guard Station at Eatons Neck and the Eatons Neck Fire Department both of which could be cut off in a major storm. Our safety and health depends on a roadway that must be open at all times. Because this long sought project has not been completed the whole project area has deteriorated to the point of basic services being affected. Take education. Is it really OK that we all put up with school buses driving through crashing waves during even the most minor nor’easter? That is big picture.

Yes, sand will be placed in front of homes in Asharoken, but this sand also protects the road by reducing the chances of Long Island Sound flooding the street and making it impassable. Approximately one half of the proposed sand deposition would actually be placed only in front of the road and sea wall, not homes. Asharoken and Eatons Neck were extremely lucky in Super Storm Sandy because the wind shifted to the South East at the time of the second high tide. Without this wind shift I am certain that road would have been destroyed and Eatons Neck would have been isolated. Without shoring up the beach, the risk of severe damage or destruction of Asharoken Avenue in the future is likely. Clearly the Town of Huntington’s Eatons Neck Residents need this project just as Asharoken does. The Village of Asharoken has been presented with a plan from the Army Corp of Engineers to place sand on the beach, this plan requires a substantial commitment of money from the village, as well as a requirement that the sound side beach, from National Grid to Bevin Road, be available for public use. Needless to say, I and many residents feel that this is an excessive burden to put on Asharoken alone when the overwhelming public benefit is to protect the road
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Asharoken’s Board of Trustees is doing its fiduciary duty to fully explore the option that the Army Corp is offering us. Once the Tentatively Selected Plan is announced by the Army Corp, the Village will invite them back to the Village to make a complete presentation.  Subsequent to this the Village will have a public hearing to get input from our residents and see how they feel about what is being offered. Based on their input the Village Board will decide how to proceed. Without the support of our residents this project is in jeopardy.

It is obvious that Asharoken Avenue needs to be protected from damage. Without a compromise agreement that recognizes that the public benefit of this project should be road protection and not public beach access the project will be very difficult to complete. Yet it must be completed. It is the right thing to do and the time is now to get it done while we have the Sandy funding and one time permission from the DEC to dredge the Long Island Sound. Our Board of Trustees will continue reaching out to our federal, town and county elected officials to find a solution that works for all stakeholders
 
Mayor Dr. Greg Letica