NewburyportNews.com, Newburyport, MA

Local News

April 9, 2013

Town, state split over Salisbury Beach fix

SALISBURY — Usually on the same page concerning the best interests of Salisbury Beach, as of yesterday local officials and those from the state agency that owns the beach were not seeing eye to eye on how best to repair the devastating shore erosion caused by this year’s storms.

“Sand should go in front of people’s houses where the dune (erosion) is the worst,” Town Manager Neil Harrington said yesterday morning. “Usually we have a great relationship with DCR. This is the first time in many years we haven’t agreed on something this important.”

Last Wednesday, only a couple of hours before Salisbury Conservation Commission was to meet, the DCR emailed its request for an emergency certification permit to fix the storm-ravaged beach, which it owns. However, since the state’s priorities didn’t mesh with those of the towns, and due in part to the last-minute nature of the DCR’s move, commissioners postponed approving the certificate until the town could take a second look at the damage.

According to DCR’s emergency certificate request, it would take only about 15,000 cubic yard of sand from a large erosion-formed sandbar at the north jetty. Once harvested, the sand would be distributed to three areas in priority order, but such a small amount of sand probably won’t be enough to get beyond Priorities 1 and 2, according to DCR North Region engineer Darryl Forgione.

In DCR’s request, Priority 1 includes Reservation access ways 1, 3 and 4, public access ways at Murray Street, Vermont Street and Central Avenue, access ways 2 and 3 on Ocean Front North, and 1 and 2 along the Beach Center. Priority 2 lists only the Beach Center’s DCR location outside of access ways and fronting existing dunes, with the priority 3 listed as access ways number 7 and 8.

However, the town priority list is different. It would lead off with making the severely damaged beach in front of Broadway and Driftway safe and secure, then take on tide-ravaged dunes in front of homes between access ways 6 through 8, leaving southern access ways last.

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