On Tuesday, November 15, the Belle Harbor Property Owners Association met for its last meeting until March, at the Belle Harbor Yacht Club.
The Army Corps of Engineers was expected to attend to provide updates on the ongoing beach protection work, but bailed out a few days ahead of the meeting, without giving a reason. The National Park Service was also expected to attend to provide updates on the upcoming revitalization of the Riis Bathhouse, but all parties decided it was best to wait until the next meeting to provide the most up-to date information.
Barbara Larkin provided some updates on an ongoing issue with neighborhood trees, including a tree that was destroyed in a car accident and dead trees that require removal by the City. After being given the run-around by various agencies, Councilwoman Ariola’s office assured her that the trees will be removed by the spring.
BHPOA president Paul King then dove into the recent election results. King acknowledged his own loss in the congressional race and discussed the ongoing issues in the Assembly District 23 race, which has not yet been decided, as absentee ballots still have to be counted and Assemblywoman Stacey Pheffer Amato has since filed a lawsuit demanding a recount for the race. “They’re both good people and we don’t need them slinging mud at each other, we just need to know who won,” King said. He also praised the community for a high voter turnout for a midterm election.
Since the Army Corps was MIA, King and others did their best to give updates. “We’re looking at a difficult summer in 2023 with groins being built. They’re gonna finish 120th and we could’ve done 125th and 130th before beach season, but now it’s looking like we’re going to have construction going on around summer,” King said. And for the dune wall construction, King spoke on how instead of picking up where they left off in the Beach 140s, USACE has started another section of dune wall at Beach 136th Street. “They’re gonna leave a gap there and if they don’t coordinate this well, it’s going to be a frustrating beach season for us,” he said.
Another USACE issue is the recently released New York New Jersey Harbor and Tributaries (NYNJHAT) Coastal Storm Risk Management (CSRM) Feasibility Study that offers further options for coastal protection around NY and NJ. The 569-page study offers various alternatives, but the one USACE recommends is alternative 3B, which would entail 12 storm surge barriers with shore-based measures. Rockaway’s closest sea gate would be placed at the opening of Jamaica Bay, near the Marine Parkway Bridge. The entire study is available on the USACE website and public comments are welcome through January 6, 2023. Comments can be sent to: Cheryl R. Alkemeyer, PMP, ENV SP, NEPA Lead, U.S. Army Corps of Engineers – New York District, Planning – c/o PSC Mail Center (Room 17-420), 26 Federal Plaza, New York 10278 or via email to:
The ongoing demolition of the Neponsit Home was discussed briefly. Currently, the contractors are doing prep work such as controlling vermin and asbestos before demolishing the buildings. King also discussed visitors of the Bay 1 area of Riis Park expressing concerns over the future use of the space, which under the deed, must be a healthcare facility or parkland, and will be turned over to NYC Parks when demolition is complete. “At Community Board 14, activists who use Bay 1 come and say this is bad for them and we aren’t letting them talk about what they’d like to see. We’re trying to work with these people who are complaining, and they don’t want to be good partners. It’s disheartening that people are trying to go behind the community’s back instead of working with us,” King said.
The meeting ended with wishing everyone a happy holiday season as the next BHPOA meeting won’t be until March.