Montauk's oceanfront properties may move to higher ground

Officials are considering a plan that would move Montauk's oceanfront properties farther inland. A hamlet study recently released by the Town of East Hampton suggests rebuilding or relocating hotels, condos, and businesses along the flood-prone waterfront corridor to a higher elevation.

"We know that we need to adapt to the rising sea levels and continual erosion here," East Hampton Town Supervisor Peter Van Scoyoc said.

The shoreline has already moved some 44 feet since 2000, according to the study.

Kevin McAllister, the founder of Defend H20, supports the relocation. He said long-term plans to protect the beautiful beach need to be made.

"We've seen a four-inch rise in sea level over the past 40 years," McAllister said. "It's projected to be 11 to 30 inches within the next 40 years."

McAllister fought the 2016 Montauk stabilization project to build a sandbag seawall in order to protect the properties. He said that is destroying the beach.

But not everyone agrees.

Daunt's Albatross Motel owner Jimmy Daunt said that replenishing sand is the only solution.

"Where would you like to put downtown Montauk?" Daunt said. "There's no place to move it on higher ground. You've got the supermarket, post office—there's no place to move it."

Residents we spoke to understand the sense of urgency but said money plays a big role in their decision. Members of the community have until the early new year to air their concerns before a vote on whether the planning process should proceed.