NEWBURY — State officials met with concerned Plum Island residents this morning whose homes are at risk because of beach erosion. The residents, who said they’re tired of temporary solutions, urged the officials to lift environmental regulations so they can save their homes.
At least four homes on Annapolis Way in Newbury are at immediate risk after the wind-driven waves from a nor’easter from June 3 to June 5 eroded about 10 feet of protective dune from the beach.
Some Plum Island homeowners have spent thousands of dollars to import sand to replenish the beach and are now asking the state to lift the ban on beach scraping — the environmentally controversial practice of bulldozing sand from under the water back up onto the beach.
“Here we are again at the brink of danger,” said Bob Connors, who lives at 39 Annapolis Way. “It’s like the movie ‘Groundhog Day.’”
The Newbury Conservation Committee will meet Tuesday and will likely authorize some beach scraping in addition to the use of hay bales and sand dumping. Another meeting will then be convened between homeowners, the Army Corps of Engineers, and state officials — the latter two both have regulatory control over scraping — about how much scraping will be allowed.
“If we had a storm tomorrow these homes would be in serious jeopardy,” said State Senator Bruce Tarr, who leads the the Merrimack River Beach Association. “what we’re looking for are sustainable solutions to what had been a long-term problem.”