, Newburyport, MA


March 28, 2013

A good start for island's next chapter

Tuesday night’s public meeting between Plum Island residents and a large cast of state and local officials was at times tedious, contentious and even explosive. But it was also productive and cathartic, and for those reasons alone it was worthwhile.

This was the first time, since the nor’easter slammed the coast and led to the destruction of six homes, that people had a chance to talk directly to the agencies that are making the key decisions. State agencies got to hear first-hand the compelling stories of islanders who lost their homes. It was the kind of blunt talk that one can’t forget.

There was an enormous amount of pent-up emotion. It’s clear that many people feel that state bureaucrats ignored their pleas, and refused to let homeowners take steps that they felt were time-tested ways to save the dune and their homes.

As the evening wore on, many islanders indicated they directly blame the state Department of Environmental Protection, which has permitting and enforcement powers over the beach. And they let the agency have it, with both barrels blazing. It was the kind of forum that would make anyone on the wrong side of that microphone squirm in their seats.

We were pleased to see that the commissioner of the department, Kenneth Kimmell, attended the meeting and took the criticism heaped on his department professionally. His answers were as good as one might expect — he did not make immediate decisions on the requests made to him, but he promised to put his staff to work on it immediately. And he made clear he wants to work in a spirit of cooperation.

The most potentially explosive item on the agenda — the DEP’s response to the enormous piles of stones that islanders have put on the beach and whether that action needs to be “remedied” — was dropped. It would have been like pouring gasoline onto a fire at Tuesday night’s meeting. But sometime, in the near future, it will have to be broached.

Text Only | Photo Reprints

NDN Video
'Hunger Games: Mockingjay Part 1' Sneak Peek GMA: Dog passes out from excitment to see owner Chapter Two: Designing for Naomi Watts Baseball Hall of Famers Inducted Florida Keys Webcam Captures Turtles Hatching Morgan Freeman Sucks Down Helium on 'Tonight Show' Robin Wright Can Dance! (WATCH) She's Back! See Paris Hilton's New Carl's Jr. Ad Big Weekend For Atlanta Braves In Cooperstown - @TheBuzzeronFox Chapter Two: Becoming a first-time director What's Got Jack Black Freaking Out at Comic-Con? Doctors Remove 232 Teeth From Teen's Mouth Bradley Cooper Explains His Voice in 'Guardians of the Galaxy' Deja vu: Another NYPD officer choke-holding a suspect 'Fifty Shades of Grey': Watch the Super Sexy First Trailer Now! Reports: Ravens RB Ray Rice Suspended For 1st 2 Games Of The Season Air Algerie plane with 119 on board missing over Mali Diamond Stone, Malik Newman, Josh Jackson and others showcase talent Free Arturo - The World's Saddest Polar Bear A Look Back at Batman On Film Through The Years
Special Features
NRA Waterfront Plans