LETTER TO THE EDITOR: Raising Awareness of Retaining Wall in Ocean Beach

The Inc. Village of Ocean Beach is planning on installing a retaining wall along several blocks of street-facing dune on the east side of town. This is a huge, old, established dune with lots of trees and shrubs that provides a root system that has helped prevent erosion over the last century. This dune easily survived Superstorm Sandy and protected the homes behind it.There is nothing wrong with the dune. They are going to use “deadmen” (anchors buried in the sand used to secure the wall) in this construction, which will most certainly destroy the root systems of these mature trees and shrubs.The Village began this process in September without filing a permit application with the New York State Department of Environmental Conservation (NYSDEC). When several residents asked why the Village wanted to install the wall, Village Officials indicated that they wanted space for bikes and wagons.  During the October 17 Board of Trustee’s Meeting, the Mayor indicated that the purpose of the retaining wall was to assist the Fire Department and emergency vehicles to make the turn safely. The Mayor also indicated that they would have to go to DEC for a permit.The Village did not ask for comments on the permit application and did not indicate in the December BOT meeting that the permit application had been prepared. Additionally, the Village has not posted a copy of the permit application on the Village website for residents to review. A Village resident, who was reading the NYSDEC Environmental Notice Bulletin of December 16, 2020 identified that the Village had filed the permit application and the public comment period has been extended by to January 8, 2021.Year round and seasonal residents alike, as well as frequent visitors know how special Fire Island is, and the decision to build a retaining wall affects all of us. I am urging you all to logon to the upcoming virtual Ocean Beach Village Board of Trustees Meeting scheduled on Saturday, January 9, 2021 scheduled to begin at 11:15 a.m. to have your voice heard.Details to JOIN MEETINGhttps://beereadyfischbein.my.webex.com/beereadyfischbein.my/j.php?MTID=me1b51e89364fbad8947386751175e347Meeting number: 132 494 1424Computer Password: HappyNewYear – Telephone/Video systems Password: 42779639By phone: Dial-in Telephone Number: 1-408-418-9388  from mobile device +1-408-418-9388,,1324941424#42779639#join by video system, application or Skype for business Dial 1324941424@webex.comYou can also dial and enter your meeting number Many thanks,Camille Guigliano, Ocean Beach