EagleTribune.com, North Andover, MA

Merrimack Valley

April 13, 2013

On Plum Island, beachfront is transformed -- again

Thousands of boulders buried under blanket of sand


Officials of the Plum Island Foundation, an island-based nonprofit formed by local residents, say that rock and sand was trucked onto the beach is at the expense of Plum Island homeowners, not the town.

Numerous fences have also been installed on beaches, as a measure to hold the sand in place.

Newbury town officials are working with homeowners in an attempt to rebuild what can be rebuilt.

Sam Joslin, Newbury’s building inspector, has said that one of the town’s solutions is for homeowners to raise structures on stanchions to evade high water in the future.

Joslin stated that about 30 houses had been under duress after the last of the winter storms surged onto the beach.

Six houses are gone. Six more are in the process of being elevated. About seven more “will be fairly easy to elevate or move to another part of the property.”

Joslin said that about 11 houses will have problems, because the parcel is too small for relocation or the structure is too unstable to elevate.

He urged homeowners to come to his office and work with town officials on solutions.

One structure that is being studied is Blue, the high-end seaside hotel. Attempts to reach the manager, David Geiger, to inquire about the hotel’s future were unsuccessful.

As homeowners and Newbury officials wait for the DEP to pass judgment on a plan to mine sand, work to strengthen jetties at the north end is coming to an end for the season.

A construction team from Hugo Key & Son Inc., is wrapping up its work to fortify the south jetty of the Merrimack River by its April 15 deadline.

The company has been working on a $3.5 million federal contract to bring in large stones, raise the height of the jetty and make the structure stronger in an effort to control storm surge and limit erosion.

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