NewburyportNews.com, Newburyport, MA

Local News

May 20, 2013

Important meeting on PI project Wednesday

(Continued)

Perhaps the DEP is suggesting that building new houses atop vulnerable dunes does not represent a long-term solution.

Or it’s possible there is a bit if payback in its determination to “assume jurisdiction.”

Without permits, oceanside residents brought in tons of boulders and mountains of sand this spring to create artificial “dunes.”

The DEP did not take issue with this unauthorized “dune creation,” and it has not been formally addressed.

But DEP officials couldn’t have been pleased with oceanfront homeowners taking major action without acquiring permits. Perhaps the DEP’s close scrutiny to building permits now is a gesture to assert its authority.

As a result of demolitions, there are three adjacent parcels on Fordham Way that are empty. And there are several parcels on Annapolis way that are similarly devoid of houses.

Also, at least six other residences perched on dunes have been deemed vulnerable.

If the DEP decides to flex its governmental muscle and take charge of the permitting process on Plum Island, it could represent a major change in the manner in which seaside construction is allowed.

On the subject of dunes, Newburyport and Newbury this spring did execute a you-rub-my-back exchange of sand.

The Charos family, which owns property at the the north end of Plum Island (Newburyport) had too much sand in the water in front of its boating operations.

Parts of Plum Island on the southern (inhabited) end of the island needed sand to refurbish dunes.

So Charos sand was sent south to needy homeowners at the other end of the island, according to a family spokesman, which sounds like at least a short-term solution to erosion challenges near the ocean.

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The following meetings are scheduled this week and are open to the public:

Tonight

Communication subcommittee of the School Committee, 5:30 p.m., room 118, high school.

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