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Asharoken dune restoration project comment period ends Friday

Private beaches along Asharoken Avenue in the Village

Private beaches along Asharoken Avenue in the Village of Asharoken on July 6, 2015. Credit: Steve Pfost

The public comment period ends Friday for the Army Corps of Engineers’ tentative $23.7 million plan to restore the Village of Asharoken’s dunes and open private beaches to the public.

The comment period initially was to end Jan. 8, but the Corps allowed the 21-day extension after village officials sought an extension into mid-February.

The Corps released its draft plan in early December. Many residents of the village along Long Island Sound don’t want to allow access to their deeded waterfront property. Federal law requires land to have public access when the Corps uses taxpayer money to restore or improve it.

The proposal, with appendices, is nearly 1,000 pages long. It would add an initial 600,000 cubic yards of sand to the most vulnerable 2.4 miles of shoreline. It would also replenish the beach with an additional 80,000 cubic yards of sand about every five years, with a total projected cost of $57.8 million.

Officials and many residents have said Asharoken Avenue — the main road that runs through the village and is the sole land evacuation route for residents of Eatons Neck — is potentially at risk when a big storm hits without the dune restoration.

Mayor Greg Letica has said the public benefit of protecting Asharoken Avenue provides enough public benefit to merit the Corps’ funding of the project without residents giving up private access to their beach-front property.

Residents can view the tentative plan and associated reports, and find contact information to submit comment before the period ends by going to the project’s page on the Corps website:

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