Brookhaven Town has officially signed onto the $3 billion Fire Island to Montauk Point (FIMP) project after calls for clarification were voiced in a letter that resulted in a visit from Sen. Chuck …
Brookhaven Town has officially signed onto the $3 billion Fire Island to Montauk Point (FIMP) project after calls for clarification were voiced in a letter that resulted in a visit from Sen. Chuck Schumer’s Long Island representative. According to congressman Lee Zeldin, five Suffolk County towns have now signed Project Partnership Agreements (PPA).
“Completion of the FIMP project is critical to the long-term health and viability of Long Island’s environment, economy and coastal way of life. My team and I have worked very hard on this effort since I first arrived to Congress in January 2015,” said Zeldin.
According to the Army Corps of Engineers, the FIMP project is a “coastal storm risk management project that will be designed to manage the risk of coastal storm damage along Long Island’s Atlantic Coast in a manner that balances the risks to human life and property, while maintaining, enhancing and restoring ecosystem integrity and coastal biodiversity.”
The project will take place along 83 miles of “Long Island’s Atlantic Coast shoreline from Fire Island Inlet to Montauk Point,” according to the Army Corps of Engineers. In our area, this includes the South Shore portions of Brookhaven Town and Fire Island.
The plan will include the construction of dunes and berms, as well as other modifications, and is being done because communities along Long Island’s South Shore have been repeatedly hit by coastal storms, suffering flooding and damage to homes and infrastructure.
The project will cost a total of $3 billion to complete. Initial construction will cost $1.5 billion, paid for with federal funding. The other $1.5 billion is part of a long-term renourishment that will be half federally funded, and the other half will require a subsequent PPA between the federal and non-federal partners, according to a press release put out by Zeldin’s office. No word yet on whether the five Suffolk County towns, including Brookhaven, will eventually be required to sign another PPA.
Brookhaven supervisor Ed Romaine wrote a letter dated June 11 to Schumer asking questions about the FIMP plan. Romaine cc’d supervisors from three South Shore towns and two South Shore villages, including the towns of Babylon, Islip and Southampton, as well as Patchogue Village and Bellport Village.
A possible point of contention can be found in the Army Corps of Engineers’ explanation of the plan when it calls for “potential elevation and flood-proofing of eligible structures located in the 10 percent floodplain, as well as mandatory acquisition of a small number of properties.” However, Brookhaven officials would not comment on what specific lines of the plan were addressed in Schumer’s letter.
The June 11 letter states, in part, “The homes being elevated in this plan are situated on roads which have flooding. The FIMP plan does not address the roads which are in need of elevation.” The letter also states: “This plan does not allocate any funding for homeowners to relocate for the period of time it will take for their home to be raised.”
But according to Jack Krieger, Brookhaven town spokesperson, any questions have been answered, and the supervisor is satisfied with what he’s heard because residents only participate in the FIMP plan if they want to.
Now, all five towns have signed PPA agreements. The towns required to sign have communities along the South Shore; they include: Babylon, Brookhaven, Islip, East Hampton and Southampton. Zeldin’s office offered further clarification on the cost of elevation to residents, but not specifically relocation-related costs.
“The home elevations will be undertaken at 100 percent federal cost. However, there could be some associated costs that would be the responsibility of the homeowner, such as addressing existing code violations or connecting to sewer lines. Participation in the home elevation program is also purely voluntary,” said Jake Murphy, communications director for Zeldin.
According to Murphy, the congressman was integral in securing funding for the project.
“Congressman Zeldin has advocated for FIMP throughout his time in Congress and helped secure congressional authorization for the project in the 116th congress through a December 2020 congressional appropriation package,” added Murphy.