2006-06-09 / Editorial/Opinion


Don't Destroy Desirable Dunes

A west end group that believes that dunes are encroaching on their quality of life is demanding that the Parks Department destroy the group of manmade dunes between Beach 138 Street and Beach 141 Street. Those dunes were put in place by the city agency nearly nine years ago at the urging (and the expense) of several Neponsit homeowners. The group says that the dune experiment has failed, that the nasty dunes have taken over their beaches, restricted access and attracted rats, mosquitoes and too many diseases to mention in this spot. While the dunes do block access to at least one beach entrance and restricts sight lines to the ocean, the residents who paid for the original dunes say that they have done their job by retaining sand and building the beaches so that a storm surge will not reach the homes on the beachfront. While the politicians and Parks officials who came to see the problem a week ago promised that they would do something to remediate the problem, there is little that they can do without the permission of the state Department of Environmental Conservation (DEC). Given that dunes are revered in much of the civilized world and that both federal and state law protects them, there is probably not a lot that the city can do outside of grooming the dunes and creating more access for local residents. That will not satisfy the "concerned citizens" who have to single aim: to see the dunes completely plowed under. Nor will it satisfy environmentalists who would see anybody who even touches a dune shot at sunrise. Perhaps building wooden boardwalks from the beach entrances over the dunes and to the open beach is the perfect solution. When, however, have you ever heard of the city pursuing the perfect solution? In any case, we ask the public officials to think creatively because the dunes deserve to remain in place and the residents deserve access to their beaches.

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