Some Asharoken residents are rejecting the latest proposal that could funnel millions of federal dollars to restore the village's eroding beaches in exchange for opening private property to the public.
"I'm not turning over my land or my property rights," Steven Mirabile told Mayor Greg Letica at a village meeting Tuesday night. "And I don't think you, as my representative, should be working to give away my property."
Letica explained that nothing is final as officials work with the Army Corps of Engineers on a plan to restore dunes vulnerable to another storm like 2012's Sandy.
Asharoken's private beaches would have to become public to receive as much as $35 million wherever tax dollars are used to lay down sand.
Corps officials responded to Asharoken's November proposal in a March 13 memo, saying they would tentatively support it if a series of questions and changes were addressed. Corps officials want to have five public access points.
"Have we given up?" asked resident Martin Cohen, noting arguments that the project merited federal money because it would protect Asharoken Avenue -- the main road on the North Shore isthmus and the only emergency access for Eatons Neck.
"We haven't given up," Letica said. "If enough residents don't want to do it, it's not going to get done. It's not me or the board going that are going to force this down anyone's throat."
Other residents suggested pursuing a Hazard Mitigation Grant from the Federal Emergency Management Agency, which is on track to provide $58.2 million for flood protection of Breezy Point in Queens, while allowing residents to preserve their private property.
But Letica said the village is committed to the beach stabilization arrangement it has had with the corps since 2001.
The mayor said some residents think the corps deal is critical to protecting Asharoken in another superstorm.
"We can at least get to some end point, where we can look at it in a rational fashion, so when the Army Corps comes back to us and says 'here's the plan, here's the consequences,' you guys have to decide what you want to do," Letica said.
In an interview Wednesday, Letica said, "Ultimately, it's going to be up to the residents to sign easements to allow the projects to go forward. And if enough residents don't sign them, it's not going to go forward."