East Hampton Town Board members will continue to monitor but not halt the controversial U.S. Army Corps of Engineers beach erosion project in Montauk until long-term stabilization solutions can be implemented.

Town Supervisor Larry Cantwell announced the decision Monday in a news release after recent protests and arrests at the site of a reinforced sand dune being built to protect downtown Montauk.

Cantwell said council members have "listened carefully to the numerous, passionate concerns raised in response to the commencement of construction activity."

"In balancing all of the information, the Town Board sees no basis upon which to halt this project and fully supports completion of this interim protective measure until the completion of the Fire Island to Montauk Point Reformulation Study," he said.

But Kevin McAllister, director of the nonprofit organization Defend H20, which has a pending lawsuit against the town to stop the project, said in a telephone interview Monday he is "disappointed" at the board's decision.

McAllister said what is being done in the project will destroy the look of the beach with a "hard structure" along the coastline and that the project could actually worsen beach erosion.

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"Of course I'm disappointed at their decision given rising public sentiment throughout the community [against the project] as people became aware of exactly what it was," McAllister said.

McAllister said officials say "it's [the beach erosion problem] an emergency but it's been three years since [superstorm] Sandy so that doesn't hold water."

Cantwell emphasized the project is an interim protective measure until the study can be completed and long-term stabilization solutions put in place. The initial cost of placing large, temporary sandbags to stabilize the shore is nearly $9 million, paid by the federal government.

"We will do everything in our power to cooperate with our federal, state, and county partners and strongly advocate that the preferred sand-only stabilization project be authorized, funded, and implemented as soon as possible," Cantwell said in his statement.

Other officials quoted in the news release agreed.

One, Suffolk Legis. Jay H. Schneiderman (I-Montauk) said the project should be considered a step toward a solution. "The current reinforced dune project should not be looked at as an end product, but rather as a means to an end," Schneiderman said. "In a few years, a wide sandy beach will be constructed in front of the dune. After the beach has been constructed, the current project will not be necessary and can be removed."