How the Hamptons Evolves: Move Those Buildings Back

Montauk dunes held back the stormy sea
Montauk’s powerful sea, Photo: Mimadeo/iStock/Thinkstock

Last week, the Massachusetts engineering firm of Dodson & Flinker presented a report that East Hampton Town paid them a reported $285,000 to produce on how the hamlets of Springs, Wainscott, Montauk and Montauk Harbor could evolve, given the rising waters of global warming.

The most dramatic part of the report was for downtown Montauk. There is a road, South Emerson Street, that runs parallel to the beach from end to end. Sitting oceanfront between the road and the ocean are six businesses—five motel resorts and one nightspot—that are Ocean End, Ocean Surf, Montauk Blue, Royal Atlantic, Sloppy Tuna and Ocean Surf Club.

The plan would call for all six of these businesses to be physically moved away. Some of them would be moved to empty lots on the other side of South Emerson. Others would be “re-located” to Essex Street, where there are other empty lots. There would be some sort of transfer rights swapped to make this happen.

Replacing these oceanfront businesses will be a half-mile-long dune, “renaturalized” with vegetation, to serve as a barrier to rising seas and high tides during storms.

The hamlet would truly be oceanfront, and from town you’d look out across the road to vegetation and then the underground seawall and then the beach and the ocean.

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