, Newburyport, MA

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March 9, 2013

Storm claims 3 homes

Powerful blast leaves destructive path on Plum Island


“We have structures that are ready to tumble, we have debris in the water, we want to keep as many people off the beach as possible,” Reilly said. “I know this weekend is going to be a beautiful weekend, so it’s going to be difficult to try and keep people off the beach, and we’re hoping the public will help us.”

Police and National Guard troops restricted access to Annapolis Way after the house collapsed. After the tide receded, owners of some vulnerable homes tried shoring up their residences in any way they could. Many expressed frustration that they hadn’t gotten the chance to earlier.

“We have proposed many solutions, all privately funded, and we just continue to hit roadblock after roadblock (from the state and federal agencies),” Connors said soon after high tide. “The result is we’re probably going to have seven homes structurally damaged or lost today on top of what we already had.”

Connors said time has run out for the Plum Island homeowners and measures need to be taken immediately to protect the homes that remain. State Sen. Bruce Tarr, R-Gloucester, whose district includes Plum Island, has been a vocal proponent of helping beachfront homeowners protect their properties, and he called on other state and federal officials to take action.

“It’s clear that up and down the coast, homes, property and infrastructure have been in jeopardy, it’s time that the commonwealth of Massachusetts takes a serious look at all the tools that are available,” Tarr said. “We don’t want to have another home like that, and we want to be proactive and not reactive to the extent that we can.”

Tarr added that all affected homeowners should do whatever they need to do to protect their homes in the short term, and he would work with the Department of Environmental Protection to make sure the laws are either complied with or changed.

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