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Montauk Shores complex to pay $40G fine over oceanfront wall

Aerial photograph taken on March 24, 2013 showing

Aerial photograph taken on March 24, 2013 showing rock revetment work being done at the mobile-home complex of the Montauk Shores Condominium. Credit: Doug Kuntz

An oceanfront condominium complex has agreed to pay a $40,000 fine and remove a 12-foot stone wall along the ocean that exceeded the size permitted by the State Department of Environmental Conservation.

The DEC said Tuesday that Montauk Shores Condominium and its contractor, Keith Grimes, have agreed to a consent order calling for a $120,000 fine, with $40,000 payable immediately and the other $80,000 suspended pending compliance with another part of the order requiring the existing wall to be reduced to the size originally approved, and the rocks heavier than 150 pounds removed.

The development's 900 feet of oceanfront has been protected by a rock wall for decades, and since 2002 the complex -- New York State's first mobile home park condominium -- has been trying to get a permit to make the wall bigger and heavier, according to the DEC.

But state officials said the permit requests were turned down because the complex wanted to use rocks weighing 300 to 500 pounds instead of the 150-pound rocks the DEC approved.

Last March, months after superstorm Sandy scoured the Long Island coastline, the DEC approved a permit to rebuild the wall at 6 feet tall and 12 feet wide, but with stones no larger than 150 pounds.

After the work was done, the DEC said the agency received numerous complaints from Montauk residents, and inspectors sent to the property found the wall was 12 feet tall, 24 feet wide and contained rocks that weighed up to 1,000 pounds.

DEC officials, in a statement, said the rock wall approved in the original permit was "sufficient to protect upland property and minimize shoreline erosion."

Hardened shoreline protection structures such as rock revetments and bulkheads are believed to contribute to erosion problems along the shore by redirecting wave energy or interfering with the normal flow of sand in near-shore currents.

There was no immediate estimate on the cost to reduce the wall's size. Officials from Grimes' company and Montauk Shores Condominiums did not return calls for comment Tuesday.

About 200 families own property at Montauk Shores. The lots, which originally sold for $15,000 to $25,000 in 1976 when the development was called Oceanside Estates, now have some homes that sell for $500,000 or more.

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