April 07, 2013
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David L. Ryan/Globe Staff
Erosion is threatening several homes on Chappaquiddick, a problem associated with climate change.
A break in the barrier beach at nearby Norton Point in 2007 accelerated the process.
Gretchen Ertl for The Boston Globe
One of these homes is an 8,300-square-foot, cliffside mansion owned by Richard and Jennifer Schifter.
The distance between their swimming pool and the bluff has dwindled from 220 feet to 40.
Alison L. Mead for the Vineyard Gazette
Richard Schifter (second from left) obtained permission from the Edgartown Conservation Commission to relocate his home.
The home, including the pool, guest house, and garage, will be moved 250 feet, but Schifter acknowledged that may not be enough.
Some residents are sympathetic while others are incredulous about the Schifters' plan.
The project has raised concerns about traffic on the quiet island and the environmental impact on Wasque Point.
Another question is whether massive digging at the site could permanently scar it or leave it even more vulnerable to erosion.
The Schifters' expensive and aggressive response may not even be enough. Sea levels in the area are rising three to four times faster than the global average.
Roger Becker, president of the Chappaquiddick Island Association, said he could not have fully grasped the raw power of the forces reshaping the island without witnessing the recent changes.
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