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Amityville seeks to prove bulkhead is on land owned by municipality

Part of the bulkheading project in Amityville at

Part of the bulkheading project in Amityville at the end of South Bay Avenue is seen on Tuesday. Credit: Newsday / J. Conrad Williams Jr.

Officials in the Village of Amityville are racing to prove that a section of damaged bulkheading is on municipal-owned land in order to get the state to pay for its replacement and avoid project delays.

The bulkheading on the end of South Bay Avenue was being replaced last month as part of a post-superstorm Sandy waterfront resiliency project targeting more than 20 village locations. The work is being paid for with $3 million in federal money distributed by the state.

As the work was being finished, village officials noticed that a 60-foot section of the bulkheading that projects out into the bay was not done.

Peter Casserly, a consultant for Babylon Town, which has been managing the project, said the section was left off plans submitted to the state and that the engineers, Savik & Murray of Bohemia, may have assumed the area is privately owned.

“It’s been this way for quite a while,” said village attorney Bruce Kennedy. “Anybody who went down and looked at it would see. Somebody should have realized hey, the bulkhead is projecting out into the bay.”

A spokesman for the firm who did not give his name declined to comment.

Casserly said that because the section was not in the project’s plans, the state Governor’s Office of Storm Recovery told him the state would not pay for the work. The village board of trustees on June 11 voted to use $35,000 of its funds to pay for the bulkheading should the state refuse to pay for it.

Casserly said there are only a handful of project sites left in the village and that it should take another two weeks to finish that work. He said state officials told him that they wanted to close out the project but that Casserly asked for a reprieve until the matter can be settled.

Last week, the state agency’s spokeswoman, Catie Marshall, wrote in an email that there is enough funding in the project’s budget to cover the section and that the agency is “ready and willing to provide the funding for this bulkhead” as long as the town and village can prove the property is publicly owned.

“As soon as the municipalities make that clear, the funding will be available to make the repairs,” she wrote.

Kennedy said the village last week hired Patchogue-based land surveyor Paul Barylski for $800 to do a survey to show the land at the bottom of the bay is owned by the town.

“We’re trying to get this thing done and not have it hold up the project and have it cost the village a lot of extra money,” Kennedy said.

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