Ship Bottom Residents Consider Selling Homes in Flood-Prone Areas

Oct 04, 2017

Back-bay flooding along portions of Central Avenue hit such a critical point last month that West 27th Street resident Olga Choquette was forced to park on the other side of Long Beach Boulevard and schlep grocery bags home because she couldn’t get through the flood waters without the risk of ruining or damaging her car.

“After 33 years,” she told the borough council at its meeting Sept. 27, “my husband said to me, ‘it may be time to sell.’”

It’s a prevailing feeling right now among neighbors on West 27th Street, she said, noting “people are getting really frustrated and thinking of selling their homes.”

The area in question is from roughly West 23rd Street through West 28th Street, Central Avenue and part of Long Beach Boulevard. It’s the flood-prone zone in the gateway community that borough officials have asked the county engineering department to take a closer look at rectifying.

Solving the problem in that area is twofold, according to Borough Engineer Frank Little. First is the installation of a small pipe to move flood waters more quickly out of the area. Right now, the tide water comes in faster than it recedes, which creates the flooding. The second problem is how to seal off the end of 28th Street where a bulkhead is currently located.

“It’s getting progressively worse,“ West 28th Street resident Angela Trampota said. “I was physically landlocked for two days last week.’

She was referring to the flooding the week of Sept. 18 through Sept. 23. Trampota first brought the issue to the council in May, explaining flood waters can keep her family homebound even on sunny days.

“The water is just pouring through the bulkhead,” she said.

Councilman Joe Valyo, who along with Mayor William Huelsenbeck was in the impacted area, said the worse day was Friday, Sept. 22.

“The valves held for a while, but the water breached,” Valyo said, noting he and the mayor took more than 80 photos, some of which included the police hummers to highlight the depth of the water, and sent them to the county. “It was coming through with white caps.”

Valyo said he was given the green light to price how much it would cost to totally replace the bulkhead and include the project in the municipal budget.

The other problem, according to Councilman David Hartman, is that the berm in the area is completely useless at this point. He urged Trampota and other residents to write or call the county to illustrate the uselessness of the berm.

“They (the county) want to include us with the other pumps on the Island,” Hartman said, noting that West 28th Street is the choke point.

Borough officials earlier this year asked the county engineering department to look at solutions to reduce the flooding on Long Beach Boulevard between 23rd and 30th streets, saying they believe raising the crown of the main Island thoroughfare would create an almost flood-free zone for cars traveling through the borough. Currently, most motorists take it upon themselves to use the center turning lane to bypass the high waters overwhelming the driving lanes going north and south. In Long Beach Township and Beach Haven, motorists can travel on the ocean roads when the Boulevard is impassable with flood waters.

“I hope it gives you comfort to know what we’re doing (about the situation),” Hartman told the impacted residents, adding that Little is preparing a report for the county to help move along the project.

Gina G. Scala

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