Long Beach and Hempstead town officials have granted access for the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers to build dunes on a private beach in front of Lido Towers and are in negotiations to turn the property into a public beach.
The Long Beach City Council passed a resolution last week granting access to a 140-foot sliver of land that falls within city limits. Similarly, the Hempstead Town Board last month approved access to the rest of the property — or 90 percent — that sits in the town.
The dunes are part of a $230 million federal shoreline protection project following destruction from superstorm Sandy in 2012. Army Corps officials said the dunes are essential to completing the protection plan between Long Beach and Lido Beach.
The beach, controlled by the 184 Lido Towers condo owners, is one of the last private stretches of sand in Lido Beach. The condo board has been negotiating access for two years and working on an agreement for the town and the city to eventually acquire the beach.
An attorney for the condo owners could not be reached for comment.
Local officials said the residents support the dune project, and there was no opposition during either vote.
A clause in the agreement negotiated in June requires the town and the city to obtain a permanent easement on the property to maintain the dunes, which would open public access. Condo owners are seeking compensation for the property and required the municipalities to “make a good-faith effort to obtain the unanimous consent” of all condo owners.
Hempstead town officials said the town could go through eminent domain proceedings to acquire the property if a financial agreement cannot be reached. The city and town expect to be reimbursed by the Army Corps.
Long Beach Corporation Counsel Rob Agostisi said the city’s agreement was passed to protect the city from facing additional payments for the property after it is acquired and limits the purchase to land within city limits.
Long Beach drafted its resolution to avoid a penalty such as the one the city faced with the Superblock project, a proposed apartment development that has been stalled. A judge in 2015 ordered the city to pay an additional $19 million after the court ruled the oceanfront property was undervalued by $11 million during the city’s initial eminent domain proceedings in 2006.
“The city was able to negotiate protections that limits the legal exposure if Lido Towers contested the legal value of the property,” Agostisi said. “The Army Corps is obligated to pay that cost.”
Army Corps officials have not said when dune construction at Lido Towers is expected to begin.