A Plan for Downtown Montauk: Leave the Motels and Add Jetties

Downtown Montauk Stabilization Project
Downtown Montauk Stabilization Project. Photo credit: Dan Rattiner

A plan for downtown Montauk, declared a great idea by some political leaders, calls for the destruction of all the oceanfront motels and replacing them with sand dunes able to hold back the ocean.

The taxpayers would generously pay the motel owners for their properties, and also would arrange for the motel owners to take possession of undeveloped land further inland downtown.

Since all the oceanfront motels have names to celebrate the fact that they are oceanfront—names like OCEAN BEACH, SURF CLUB and ROYAL ATLANTIC—their new motels would, of course, have to be renamed. You can’t have a motel called Ocean Beach if it faces out on Fort Pond, or, worse, the backend of the Shagwong restaurant. Well, I suppose you could call them that anyway—they are the names familiar to their clientele. This clientele with their beach chairs, umbrellas and Frisbees would be in for a surprise when they got out here, though.

Of more importance are the issues created when the Army Corps of Engineers decimated the downtown Montauk beach back in 2011 to supposedly replace it with a tall, fearless sand dune 100 yards deep from dune to surf that could contain the waves. We can see what they did.

They laid down sandbags and then restored the old dune a little higher than it had been before. When asked where is the 100-yard-deep beach of sand extending out into the sea, they said they didn’t have the money for that and it would be phase two.

There is already a 100-yard-deep beach of sand extending four miles from Hampton Bays to Westhampton. It was created by building stone jetties out into the sea at quarter-mile intervals and watching as the sand filled the spaces between. Someone take them over to have a look at this.

Leave the motels and add the jetties. That will hold.

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