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March 9, 2013

`Never, never, never should have happened'

Owner believes house collapse was preventable

(Continued)

Bandoian grew up spending summers on Plum Island. Since the 1950s, he's watched the effects of erosion steadily move from one end of the barrier island to the other — starting on the northern Newburyport end around 53rd and 55th streets, then progressing to the center before moving south to the area around his home. Over the years, he's seen sandbars, too, build up, move and then disappear.

Each time the jetties were repaired, he said the erosion problems were redirected further south, eventually reaching his property, which backs up to Southern Boulevard.

Built in the late 1970s, Bandoian's house replaced one that was damaged in a 1976 storm. It was constructed further back on the lot to protect it from coastal damage. Bandoian bought the house in 1981 and extensively renovated it, he said. He also owns the adjacent house at 43 Annapolis Way, which occupies the same lot.

While electrical power had been cut to the house, Bandoian said that was because a utility pole that serviced his residence had been undermined and disputed it was due to safety concerns for his house.

Bandoian said it's too soon to know what he'll do next. But he fears for the properties around him, particularly those behind where his house and the dune had once provided a solid protective barrier.

"Others, close friends and neighbors of mine, never, ever thought their houses would ever be threatened," he said. "It's now conceivable that they are."

He's even begun wondering about his 43 Annapolis Way property, where his son's fiance now lives. In more than 30 years, he's never once had a concern there — until now.

"If someone doesn't do something to change whatever's happening, I suppose it'll reach that and beyond," he said.

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