Baxter Estates forges agreement with county for shoreline study

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A van flooded when attempting to drive on Shore Road during a recent rainstorm. (Photo courtesy of Baxter Estates resident Maria Branco)
A van flooded when attempting to drive on Shore Road during a recent rainstorm. (Photo courtesy of Baxter Estates resident Maria Branco)

The Village of Baxter Estates commissioned a shoreline study to find solutions to erosion affecting a key Port Washington road on Wednesday night, entering an intermunicipal agreement with Nassau County where the county will provide $15,000 to fund the study.

Shore Road, a major road that is used by many to get in and out of Port Washington with 8,000 vehicles traveling on it daily, has been experiencing serious flooding during rainstorms in recent months.

The increased frequency of flooding is caused by the road sinking due to erosion.

“The Village of Baxter Estates is taking the lead in addressing the coastal erosion on Shore Road, as during multiple recent storms, our residents were unable to enter or leave the village,” Baxter Estates Mayor Nora Haagenson said. 

Baxter Estates Trustee Chris Ficalora said in an interview that Shore Road is now flooding during every rainstorm that coincides with a high tide.

Ficalora said that Baxter Estates residents often use Shore Road to get to their properties. But during an October rainstorm, people residing on Bayside Avenue in the village were unable to leave or enter their neighborhood.

A van attempting to travel on Shore Road during the same rainstorm was flooded due to water accumulation on the road amounting to 18 inches.

The flooding of Shore Road also prohibits emergency services from reaching the affected areas. Ficalora said that the Port Washington Fire Department is in the process of buying a vehicle that has the ability to travel through saltwater without being damaged.

Ficalora said that members of the board have met with various elected officials, including Legis. Delia DeRiggi-Whitton (D-Glen Cove), Assemblyman Anthony D’Urso (D-Port Washington) and U.S. Rep Tom Suozzi (D-Glen Cove), and brought them out to the shoreline so they could see the issue themselves.

He said that all of them endorsed the project and indicated that they will help find funding.

FEMA will not provide financial assistance for the study due to the road being two inches too high for their qualifications, Ficalora said.

He said that the village is ready to move forward with the study now that they have secured funding from the county. The village will absorb all other expenses the county funding does not cover, besides for the engineer.

In unrelated business, trustees also approved an amnesty program for open building permits in the village.

Ficalora said that during the process of digitizing village records, officials noticed that there were more than 100 open building permits in the village.

Some of the fees accrued for the open permits amounted to as much as $15,000, Ficalora added.

Property owners who are attempting to sell their home but have an open permit will be unable to complete the transaction. Additionally, each year that a building permit remains open, the applicant is required to pay an application fee in order to renew the permit for that year.

Those who have an open permit will be sent a certified letter from the village with instructions on what they need to do to close it.

Ficalora said that closing a permit last minute slows the project down and can possibly result in a seller losing their buyer or other issues with the selling process.

Residents will then have to make an appointment at the village hall and many of them will be able to close the permit right then, Ficalora said.

Some permits will require an inspection by the village building inspector, he added.

If residents fail to resolve their open permits during the 180-day amnesty period they will return to their original fee.

In other unrelated village business, trustees scheduled village elections for March 19 from noon to 9 p.m., with voting to take place at Village Hall. Haagenson, Deputy Mayor Charles Comer, and Ficalora are all up for re-election this year.

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