The following is a press release from the East Haven Mayor's Office.
In August of 2011, Hurricane Irene severely damaged the berm that had protected the residents and properties of the Victoria Beach Condo Association from Nor’easters and other major weather events for decades.
When Super Storm Sandy struck in October 2012, the berm, already weakened by Irene, was completely destroyed as the storm caused record surge, beach erosion and flooding across East Haven’s shoreline.
Through the efforts of East Haven Mayor Joseph Maturo, East Haven’s state senator Len Fasano, and State Representative James Albis, along with the cooperation of DEEP, the design and construction of a new armored stone revetment wall was approved by the State of Connecticut earlier this year and the project has been completed on schedule.
“After Irene, we knew we needed to fortify our berm before another major storm. At the time, we feared a major Nor’easter would hit our vulnerable shoreline and threaten not just our beachfront, but also the structures of our homes,” said Patric Marchitto, President of the Victoria Beach Condo Association. “We petitioned DEEP, but couldn’t get our permits approved before Super Storm Sandy swept ashore and eroded the land right up to our doorsteps. We then enlisted the help of Mayor Maturo and Senator Fasano to help move the process along and protect our properties from future storms. For the most part, Mother Nature cooperated while we constructed our wall and we are now much better protected from future catastrophic storms.”
“What a difference a year makes,” said Mayor Maturo. “It has been a long recovery process and one that continues for many of our neighbors, but Victoria Beach serves as an example of the progress this community has made. I’m proud of the people of Victoria Beach and all of East Haven for their resilience as we continue to work together to rebuild our community.”
Public officials are hopeful that this solution will serve as a model for other shoreline communities in Connecticut.
“This community was left extremely vulnerable in the aftermath of Sandy. I’m grateful for the efforts of the Mayor’s office, the Department of Energy and Environmental Protection (DEEP), and all the laborers who worked so hard to complete this project,” said Sen. Fasano. “Many of the processes and timeframes for permit approval that were acceptable before Irene and Sandy, simply aren’t acceptable anymore. I’m pleased that many of those processes are being changed. It’s a new world and I do believe we need to be better prepared for major weather events in the years ahead.”
"I am pleased that Victoria Beach and DEEP were able to work together to devise and construct a structure that will provide protection during storm events,” Rep. James Albis said. “While each shoreline community has unique needs, it is vital that there is a framework in place to ensure that the best possible solution for each community is able to be made reality. I hope time will tell that happened right here in East Haven and other communities are able to learn from the example."
[Editor's Note: Arguing it has remained a known and worsening hazard since Hurricane Sandy, residents will gather at the intersection of Old Town Highway & Morgan Point Avenue late Monday afternoon for a press conference to voice their concern over what they say is a "lack of regard for citizens' safety" from the Mayor's Office when it comes to repairing a damaged berm within the Shell Beach area of the shoreline.]