North Hempstead to undertake $9.5M bluff stabilization project

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Victor Thomas, North Hempstead's deputy commissioner of public works, and Paul DiMaria, North Hempstead's commissioner of public works, discussed the Beacon Hill bluff stabilization project on Monday. (Photo by Jessica Parks)

North Hempstead will soon start a project to stabilize the Beacon Hill bluffs, a vegetation-covered hill situated at the western end of Hempstead Harbor Woods and behind Summit Road in Port Washington.

The area, which is adjacent to Harbor Links Golf Course, was formerly owned by the former Colonial Sand and Stone company. Many years of sand mining contributed to the heavy erosion in the area, which town officials fear is encroaching on the rear property lines of homes on Summit Road. The town purchased the land from Nassau County in 2007. 

The project is expected to cost a total of $9.5 million to complete the two phases of the work. Phase one, which is expected to begin once the contractor is approved at the town’s Aug. 13 meeting, is projected to cost $6.1 million. 

The first phase is expected to be completed in five months. 

The stabilization project’s purpose is to make the bluffs more resistant to future erosion and facilitate long-term vegetation of native grasses and trees, according to North Hempstead’s public works commissioner Paul DeMaria at Monday’s informational meeting.

He said the project entails removing vegetation and earthen material along the slope’s face; regrading earthen material to properly pitch and terrace the bluff’s surface to aid in preventing future erosion and control stormwater runoff; and revegetation of the bluff with native grasses. 

An engineer’s study on the area found that the soil consists primarily of medium to fine sand and that the upper soils are typically less dense with similar conditions at the slope’s base. 

It was determined that these soils are susceptible to erosion and slope failures near the surface due to the loose condition and coarse-grained nature of the sand. 

DiMaria showed a photo to illustrate the severity of the erosion that displayed a “No Trespassing” sign that was 2 feet above the ground. He explained the sign had sunk 6 feet from where it originally stood at 8 feet above the ground. 

North Hempstead Town Supervisor Judi Bosworth said she is concerned about the frequency and intensity of the storms that are occurring. 

“Whether you believe in climate change or not, we are having more frequent storms and they are more intense,” she said. “We have to take that into consideration as we consider what we are doing going forward.” 

DiMaria said the Beacon Hill bluffs stabilization is a continuation of the bluff stabilization that the town undertook in 1997 at Harbor Links Golf Course. 

In fact, the town commissioned the same Great Neck-based construction firm, Galvin Brothers, for the project.

Dimaria said construction will only take place during normal weekday business hours.

Phase one is to undertake the most damaged area of the bluffs, about nine acres, and phase two will address the land north of the phase one area. Phase two is expected to commence next year. 

Original plans for a third phase of the project were scrapped after an engineer deemed it unnecessary. 

The first phase of the project was funded in North Hempstead’s 2018 Capital Plan. 

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