April 22, 2017 --At a meeting of the Sea Cliff Planning Board this past Wednesday evening, a representative for Bay Avenue Associates LLC, the owner of the property, the backyard of which three years ago was washed into Hempstead Harbor after a heavy rain induced mudslide, presented the owner's plan for remediating the slope.
The spokesman, Michael Griffin, explained the plan which includes a timber seawall and three concrete retaining walls that rise to a backyard patio. The top wall, the tallest of the three, will be just over ten feet tall above the grade of the slope with a footing that extends ten feet below the surface.
As for how the work will be done, Mr. Griffin said that a barge will transport heavy equipment to the site, and that construction of the seawall would take place first, followed by each retaining wall, moving upward. Concrete will be pumped downward from trucks at the top of the slope.
Nick DeSantis, of Newport Engineering, the firm hired by the Village to review the remediation plans, offered his opinion of the proposal from his seat in the audience.
The seawall and the lower two retaining walls, he said, were sound, but that he had concerns about the top wall - especially its footing which he said was undersized. He said that perhaps the seawall and lower two concrete retaining walls could be completed and in the meantime a solution for the upper wall could be developed.
Later, Village Attorney Brian Stolar said that for the project to begin, the entire proposal had to be approved.
Most of the residents who spoke expressed concerns about the impact that driving piles could have on surrounding houses and other structures.
“I just want to make sure there will be no pile driving,” said Tom Pitigoff, who lives next door to the property.
The only way to put in a timber seawall, Mr. DeSantis explained, is to drive pilings. He added that monitoring of the vibrations could be done.
Resident Dennis Buckley said that there are 30 historic homes in the surrounding area with plaster walls and ceilings as well as brick foundations and cesspools that could be damaged by the vibrations.
Planning Board Chairman Bruce Trieber said that the elevation at which the homes stand is so much higher than where the pile driving will be done, that it is very unlikely they would be impacted.
Mr. DeSantis agreed, and repeated that monitoring could be done, and that if vibrations hit a certain level, work would be stopped. He said that the monitoring firm could inspect homes before and after the work.
Resident Elizabeth Weinstein said that she and her husband had had a steel seawall installed at their property a few years ago and that the pile driving had not impacted neighboring structures or homes. She urged that the project move forward as soon as possible. “The process has been arduous,” she said. “We need to move along,” explaining that the un-remediated slope has caused considerable anxiety for neighboring residents.
Cecelia Wheeler said that the Weinstein’s seawall used about half the number of pilings that would be used for the timber wall that had been proposed.
As the hearing came to a close, Mr. Griffen said that the project’s engineer would respond to Mr. DeSantis’ concerns about the third retaining wall.
The New York State Department of Environmental Conservation (DEC) has declared itself the lead agency for the overseeing the project from the water to the top of the slope, Mr. Griffin said.
BACK TO WEEKLY