This has been a difficult year for Plum Island residents, especially those living on Annapolis Way and Fordham Way. Still reeling from the impact of Superstorm Sandy and another surprisingly powerful storm late in 2012, Plum Island came into the year already struggling with severe beach erosion that threatened many of the homes resting on the edge of the Atlantic Ocean.
Several of those homes were then pushed to the brink in early February, when a blizzard swept through the area and washed what was left of the beach out to sea. The storm left a handful of Plum Island homes literally teetering on the edge, wrecking their porches and exposing their foundations to the sea, and the widely held fear was that if one more big storm hit, several homes would be washed out to sea.
That fear proved to be well founded, as another nor’easter battered the coast in early March and proved to be a knockout blow for six houses, and left several others in peril. Two homes on Annapolis Way collapsed over the dune, a third was condemned after its foundation was compromised, and about a week later, three more homes on Fordham Way were torn down after it was determined they were damaged beyond repair. In the weeks and months following, homeowners met with elected officials and members of the state’s DEP to discuss ways to protect their properties and preserve the dunes on PI, including elevating their houses, sand mining, and biomimicry or placing thin wooden shakes into the earth in an attempt to stabilize the sand.
Several of the property owners whose homes were destroyed are considering selling their properties to the government rather than rebuilding.
In Newburyport, this year was marked by political strife, opposing views — and a desire to do something about those dirt parking lots.