Oak Bluffs presses FEMA for funds to repair East Chop Bluff

Oak Bluffs has received approval and signed contracts for more than $4.3 million in federal disaster assistance: $553,086 for Sengekontacket dredging; $664,588 for East Chop Road and Seaview Avenue bulkhead repair; $1,165,284 for beach and jetty restoration at the Inkwell, Pay Beach and Jetty Beach; and $1,960,845 for North Bluff seawall repair.

Oak Bluffs town administrator Robert Whritenour met Thursday, October 17, with local, state and federal government officials to update the status on all Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) projects for damage sustained during hurricane Sandy.

Unresolved is the matter of $4.19 million for repairs to East Chop Bluff. FEMA has not approved that request because the agency maintains the bluff is private property, not a public way, since it is owned by the East Chop Association. In a letter to FEMA/Homeland Security branch director Tim Barnett, Mr. Whritenour documented extensive government involvement in protecting and repairing the bluff and road along its top dating to the late 19th century. He also said the East Chop Association would deed the property to the town if necessary.

At the selectmen’s meeting on Tuesday, October 22, Mr. Whritenour thanked Oak Bluffs Emergency Management director Peter Martell for his diligent effort to obtain federal disaster assistance for the town.