Malloy Pressed On Seawall
by Gwyneth K. Shaw | Nov 2, 2012 4:36 pm
Posted to: Politics, Morris Cove, Superstorm Sandy
Gov. Dannel P. Malloy and U.S. Sen. Richard Blumenthal walked a windswept stretch of Morris Cove beach Friday afternoon looking to comfort homeowners struggling to recover from Superstorm Sandy.
They got an earful from a handful of locals with a long-running request: Save our homes by building us a seawall.
“This house is going to go down,” grumbled resident Tony Sacco (pictured above) outside his home at 66 Townsend Ave., noting that his wife, Lucille, is growing afraid to sleep inside. “The next one, we’ll go.”
In front of Sacco’s home, inches from the lapping tide, sat concrete Jersey barriers, which the city installed before Tropical Storm Irene hit last year. Just behind those barriers were the remains of a homemade seawall Sacco and some of his neighbors were building—until, they said, the state Department of Energy and Environmental Protection (DEEP) stopped them.
“DEEP is more concerned about shellfish than they are about the people here,” said Beth Bernardo, who lives nearby on Morris Cove Road. She’s been in the neighborhood all her life, just like her parents and grandparents.
Bernardo brought reinforcements to her discussion with Malloy and other elected officials: Century-old postcards (pictured) of the same stretch of beach, showing plenty of sand in front of the homes.
The residents’ pleas echoed those made a year ago, after Irene’s wrath swept through the area. New Haven Mayor John DeStefano said the city applied for a Federal Emergency Management Agency grant through the state after the storm, asking for about $1.4 million for what’s estimated to be a $2 million project. The seawall would stretch in front of about 10 homes, he said; the project would require some contribution from homeowners, too.
DeStefano said he hoped the aftermath of Sandy would help speed the approval of the grant.
“I think if these homeowners deserve anything, it’s an answer,” he said.
“The federal government has in the past provided flood protection for this neighborhood,” DeStefano said. “This is not a case where I think these houses have to be removed. This is solved by a seawall.”
Malloy and Blumenthal pledged to help any way they can. The governor said he would look into why DEEP stopped work on the residents’ own efforts, saying he suspected it might have been a simple permitting issue.
“I personally support efforts to properly build seawalls and to protect established communities,” Malloy said.
Malloy said he is seeking “every dollar we can reasonably bring back” from FEMA and other federal agencies in the wake of the storm.
Gigi Mauro-Celentano welcomed the federal, state and city officials. Walking her dog, Rita, she chatted with Malloy and Blumenthal as they strode past her home, just down the beach from Sacco’s. The water came within 4 feet of her deck Monday night, she said, but didn’t reach her basement.
Despite having no electricity, she said she just felt lucky, especially in light of the devastation in Staten Island, N.Y., and New Jersey’s shore towns.
Mauro-Celentano also said she has no plans to leave.
“We love it in the summer. It’s beautiful,” she said. “You have to take the bad with the good.”
Tags: Gov. Danell P. Malloy, seawall, morris cove
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Way back,before the 1938 hurricane and many times since, this asinine building on unbuildable land should have been outlawed and the rest of us should have stopped subsidies for flood insurance via our federal taxes.
We should stop these ridiculous subsidies for these folk and their continuous cycles of build, insure, flood, hurricane,destruction, and sometimes death, and then rebuild again on the same site
At least make these folk pay the full cost of their follies and stop the subsidies by the rest of us,
Public money should not be used to support “Private” beaches.
Most of those residents forget that low tide is public land.
I dont get why these people expect the govt. to pay for their own problem. They should all sue the DEEP if that is their big problem, I dont want my hard earned tax money going towards houses that should be built on pilings/tall concrete piers.
Speaking of concrete, why would anyone use cinder blocks to try and hold back the water??? Concrete and steel is the ONLY way to go period.
Though I would not get quite such a knee jerk reaction as the above posters, the state should very carefully consider any plans regarding construction along the Sound. Sea level is likely to rise by a meter or two over the coming century. Any major construction, such as seawalls, must take that into account, or we’ll just have the same conversation again in a few decades.
Rising sea level due to global warming exacerbates the problems of storm surges like we just experienced. How do we decide that so locations or buildings are no longer tenable to support? I don’t have a good answer to that question.
I got a big chuckle out of this story. These guys were strolling down a nearly vacant beach “looking to comfort homeowners” complete with a cop and a gun to protect them. lol.
I would have given them a good earfull - but it wouldn’t have had anything to do with the government building me a seawall to protect my private land. It would have been about the long term systemic problems facing this state and our nation for which nobody is proposing any solution that lasts longer than a minute. Politicians get paid a lot of money to sit around and think stuff up. They should do it. In the meantime, they should focus on what’s it going to take to get the lights on and why this state was not flooded with crews to have it done already. As of this morning 175,000 people were still without electricity. When you get the lights on, you don’t need to walk down the beach peddling comfort for the three people you talk to and the press that follows.
The National Flood Insurance Program must borrow heavily from the treasury every year to offset losses it incurs. We are subsidizing development (and always redevelopment) in areas we know will be hit by natural disasters. People’s lives and property at put at continual risk for no sound reason. This makes no sense to me.
It might be much more cost effective to take properties in the most flood prone areas by eminent domain and use them as nature intended; as buffers to inland development. If the storm surge takes out sea grass, so what. No one’s life or home would have been lost.
Are these politicians out of their minds?
Stephen is correct. The area is untenable and should be abandoned.
Instead of building some stupid seawalls, how about building some transportation infrastructure in our downtown (the only viable, job-producing area of our entire State) so that we can lower the city’s underemployment rate of 30% (a rate that is even higher among non white people who do not live on the beach). Maybe some workforce housing too so that people making less than $100,000 per year can have something larger than a studio apartment to live in.
Has long been known and demonstrated that when you build a seawall the beach eventually goes away. It accelerates beach erosion. Look where there are seawalls now and you will see - little or no sand.
posted by: Anstress Farwell on November 5, 2012 2:03pm
It might be wiser to spend federal dollars on restoring tidal marches, which could protect larger parts of the harbor and clean the water. Interesting article on studies in NYC to do this:
Important to note that sea walls can have unintended consequences - moving the flooding to other areas: