State DEP: Bay Head Homeowners Can Build Seawall

Fri April 05, 2013 - National Edition

BAY HEAD, N.J. (AP) State environmental officials are allowing homeowners to build a stone seawall in front of 15 oceanfront properties in a Jersey Shore community ravaged by Superstorm Sandy.

The Asbury Park Press reported the Bay Head homeowners plan to build a 1,300-ft.-long revetment, which is like a seawall. It would be aligned with an existing wall to the north and have a dune on top, and sand fencing may also be installed.

The Department of Environmental Protection granted emergency approval for the project on Feb. 20. The decision was not publicly disclosed at the time, but there is no requirement that such an announcement be made.

Bay Head Mayor William Curtis told the newspaper that the homeowners will pay for the seawall, as did the original homeowners who paid for the existing seawall that was built approximately 50 years ago.

Curtis said the revetment project is expected to cost the homeowners about $2.2 million.

“Bay Head doesn’t own or control the beach’’ because it is part of the oceanfront private properties, Curtis said.

DEP spokesman Larry Ragonese told the newspaper that officials granted emergency approval for the project because they want “to ensure, for public health and safety reasons, we get this moving along to prevent future damage in future storms.’’ He said the homeowners will have to apply for a DEP Coastal Area Facility Review Act permit, but noted that construction is likely to start before a public comment period gets under way.

“It’s important to note that this is an interim remedial measure [in Bay Head],’’ Ragonese said. “Revetments are not the answer. It’s part of a solution.’’