Margate Dune Dilema

Margate Dune Dilema 1 Margate Dune DilemaTo the editor:

Margate’s white-sand beach is as beautiful now as it was before Hurricane Sandy.

No replenishment is needed; our beach has grown considerably over the years, due most likely from Atlantic City and Ventnor replenishments.

Our beach is the very core of our economy, providing recreation to a multitude of people and the only reason many of us live here year-round or seasonally. Our beach has kept our property values high and our taxes low by appealing to second-home buyers.

Consider the monetary cost of building dunes.

The initial project is “free,” but our taxpayers will be locked into 40 more years of replenishment. Margate would also be responsible for the cost of outfall system design, plus 25 percent of its construction.

Consider the scenario if the federal government cannot continue funding. We could be left with a beach that has already been greatly diminished in length by the dunes and possibly further eroded from other storms. The full burden of restoring our beach would then fall to the taxpayers.

Regarding the Aug. 15 meeting with representatives of the DEP and Army Corps of Engineers, there are many gray areas in the literature handed out, and many more questions that need to be answered.

Anyone who has lived in Margate for any length of time knows our big problem is the bay, not the ocean. The issue of flooding from bay water needs to be addressed.

1. The cost of the dune project is approximately $20 million. What is the estimated cost of the subsequent replenishment only? And is the cost basis the same as the whole project, i.e. 25 percent of 35 percent?

2. Who will benefit most from the creation of dunes? Beachfront and beach block property owners, the majority of whom do not appear to be in favor of the dunes? The Army Corp of Engineers?

3. What will be the cost to Margate to obtain the required easements?

4. What will happen to our property values if our beach is degraded?

5. The bulkheads do not follow a “straight” line down the beach; how will these areas be handled?

6. Will subsequent replenishments also be done during the summer months?

7. Where will rain water drain if there are dunes? Will we have unsightly outfall pipes? Will we have disgusting ponds between the bulkheads and the dunes filled with water and trash, as evidenced in Ventnor and the area between Huntington and Granville avenues?

The majority of homeowners in the areas most affected by wave action (beachfront, beach block and possibly south side) are second home owners. These property owners have the greatest vested interest in this particular issue, yet most are not registered to vote in New Jersey. Should a special election be held that includes all taxpayers?

If future meetings are to be held, the PAC would be an excellent choice as the acoustics are good and seating is adequate.

Jane MacGrogan



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