East Haven sea wall project to start in spring [New Haven Register]

January 25, 2013

Article as it appeared in the New Haven Register

By Ebony Walmsley
[email protected] / Twitter: @nhebony12

EAST HAVEN — Officials Thursday revealed the much-anticipated construction of the sea wall that protects the Victoria Beach condominiums from flooding is expected to begin in April.

Mayor Joseph A. Maturo Jr., state Sen. Len Fasano, R-North Haven, and state Rep. James Albis, D-East Haven, held a press conference Thursday near the damaged sea wall.

“This is very important that we are here today to talk about saving Victoria Beach. Without the hard work of our state representative, Sen. Fasano and the association working and pressuring (Department of Energy and Environmental Protection) it would have been another year before anything got done,” Maturo said.

Fasano said taxpayers won’t be paying for the sea wall construction. The expense will be covered by the condo association.

“People have the right to protect their own property. If they want to put money out to protect their homes, they should be able to do it,” he said.

He added seawalls are not covered by FEMA insurance.

After Tropical Storm Irene, Victoria Beach Condo Association residents asked the DEEP for permission to rebuild the damaged berm. The wall protected residents’ properties from nor’easters.

Fasano said the buffer was about 30 feet long and about half was destroyed by Irene. He said it took some time to get the state to approve the project.

“The process was slow, nothing was getting approved,” he said.

The officials’ said the wall was not completed when Hurricane Sandy hit in October.
After Sandy, the condo association resubmitted its application to DEEP, and asked for support from Maturo, Fasano and Albis.

Condo association member Liz Townsend said the town was very receptive in helping the project get approved.

The officials’ said at the press conference they aggressively pursued the application’s approval, warning another storm would be even more devastating to the community.

DEEP approved the request within 45 days, Fasano said.

According to officials, the project is unique in that the seawall will create a “living shoreline.”

“We’re taking rocks, sand and sea grass and creating a natural buffer,” Fasano said.

Officials attributed the success of the project to the dedication of the condo association and its members ability to work together.

“This says to people on the Shoreline that there are options. Seawalls do have a place,” Fasano said.

Pat Marchitto, president of the board of the Victoria Beach Condo Association, declined to reveal costs for the project because construction companies are still bidding on the work.

Marchitto said he hopes the project will start this April.
“Our shoreline is still vulnerable, and our protections have been weakened from Irene and Sandy,” Maturo said.

“I’m proud of the people of Victoria Beach and all of East Haven for their resilience as we all work together to rebuild our community and help our neighbors,” the mayor added.