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Lazy Point: Mulford Lane Residents Suffer Severe Erosion, Flooding in Post-Christmas Storm

East Hampton Town Supervisor Bill Wilkinson said that he will include the area in his request to FEMA.

Montauk wasn't the only hamlet that suffered some serious erosion in the post-Christmas blizzard. On the north side of Lazy Point in Amagansett, residents of Mulford Lane not only saw major erosion, but coastal flooding that caused destruction to the road, decks, and cars.

Linda Badkin, whose house is one house from Gardiner's Bay, said, "It's a huge mess. There's a lot of property damage. I've had four vehicles considered total losses by the insurance companies."

During the snow storm on Sunday night into Monday morning, the bay rose above the blacktop road, and covered Badkin's property. Her car engines were flooded. A watermark left behind on the wall of her garage is about three feet high.

Badkin clocked winds of 65 m.p.h. on her wind speed indicator on her house, she said. "It was sustained 50 m.p.h., for about 12 hours."

Badkin's house was spared because it was raised before she moved in about 15 years ago. But her neighbor's house, a summer home, was damaged; a newly constructed deck partially collapsed. Eduardo Carmona, the caretaker for 157 Mulford Lane, pointed out trees that were knocked over and sand that was deposited where there once was none.

Mulford Lane, a private road that dead-ends on the bay, is a paved, but the end of the road is nothing more than a pile of rubble, where  the flooding broke up the blacktop into large chunks.

"If we have two more storms like we had the another night, the bay and the beach are going to be on my property," Badkin said.

East Hampton Town Supervisor Bill Wilkinson said he and Town Councilman Dominick Stanzione visited Mulford Lane first thing on Thursday morning and described it as massive loss of beach and house damages. "I have asked Brian Frank from planning to take pictures and catalogue and we will add to the list for FEMA consideration," he said of the town's attempt to seek reimbursement from the Federal Emergency Management Association. 

Erosion has long been a problem for the Mulford Lane Property Owners Association, according to Maureen Veprek, a co-president. The seriousness of the problem is perhaps most evident by the house a few hundred yards off shore that has been sitting on stilts in the water for more than 10 years.

"We've seen two houses already destoryed and now we're looking at two more," Veprek said of the two beachfront houses on the block.

Frank, the town's chief environmental analyst, said on Wednesday that the area is one of the town's most chronic problems. The beach has eroded rapidly, he said, adding that there is a correlation between the erosion there and the changes at Napeague Inlet.

"Over the last 15 years we have lost probably 50 feet depth of beach," said Badkin, whose family has long lived on the block. "Last year, we lost about 12 to 15 feet of the road. This storm that we had Sunday night, we probably lost another 15 feet." 

"Every year, every storm -- the water doesn't always come up over the road and flood my property and my neighbor's property -- but every storm we lose more of the roads."

Veprek said East Hampton Town and the State Department of Environmental Conservation laws "doesn't allow us to shore up the area heavy duty." Sandbags have done little to slow the erosion. In fact, they were left strewn all over the beach and rocks in front of the waterfront houses.

"I don't want to see all these other houses go. I don't want to see people lose their homes.," Veprek said noting homeowners on Mulford Lane "don't have unlimited funds."

"I don't know what the the ultimate answer is, but I know I'd like more than sand and sand bags."

Meanwhile Frank said, "The long term solution may be at the inlet, evaluating how water escapes between the bay and the harbor through the west inlet." 

Linda Badkin December 31, 2010 at 12:25 AM
Thanks for the article letting everyone know how serious this problem is. Linda Badkin

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