Village Throws Hat into Legal Arena in Beach Replenishment Fight
Sept. 30, 2014 Story by Peggy Spellman Hoey The Long Island Advance
Mastic Beach Village has requested to become a defendant in a lawsuit blocking the planned beach replenishment at storm-damaged Smith Point County Park — as an interested party, citing concerns that a delay puts residents at risk.
In a legal brief presented at the federal courthouse in Central Islip Tuesday morning, village attorney Brian Egan argued any delay of the estimated $47.9 million project, which was fast-tracked earlier this year to protect homes across the bay on the mainland, would have a “devastating and incredible negative impact on residents’ homes and the infrastructure of the village." Village officials and residents, who live across the bay from the stretch of beach and often experience flooding, have lobbied for the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers to get sand out on the beach for nearly two years since Superstorm Sandy ravaged the shoreline and many homes were left under water. The project was on track up until about three weeks ago, and contractors were expected to mobilize by the middle of October, until the National Audubon Society entered a legal challenge against the Army Corps and U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service on the basis the endangered piping plover bird species habitat would be compromised.