Kevin Finnegan, owner of Hang Ten LLC, which operates the Ocean Mist, has filed an application with the state Coastal Resources Management Council for “experimental erosion control” at the beach bar, 895 Matunuck Beach Road.
Finnegan’s environmental consultant, William Ladd of GZA Environmental in Providence, has proposed installing a sandbag wall underneath the building. According to plans submitted to the CRMC July 17, the bags would be sand-filled geo-textile bags, known as Geotextile Sand Containers, or GSCs.
“The GSCs will be installed at the eroded headland feature in two rows in a stretcher bond configuration at a slope ... and will be toed-in at the base to limit the potential for undermining,” Ladd wrote. “The GSCs will be filled with sand imported from an offshore source.
“Any material excavated for the installation of the erosion control will be used to shape the subgrade below the GSCs, and any excess sand will be spread over the surface of the GSCs and on the beach above the high tide line,” Ladd continued.
To install the wall underneath the Ocean Mist, Ladd also has proposed moving the bar, which would later be reset on steel pipe piles and raised to bring it “sufficiently above the anticipated flood elevation,” Ladd said. The Ocean Mist deck also would be rebuilt, according to the plans.
During Superstorm Sandy in 2012, only a window, a door and a stairway were lost to the storm. During a tour of the Ocean Mist with U.S. senators last fall, Finnegan explained the ocean has continually eroded the beach since he bought the bar in the late 1980s.
“When I bought this place, I could stand out here and hand you a beer on the beach,” Finnegan told the senators while standing on the back deck. During high tide, the waves now flow under that deck.
Finnegan had received a CRMC notice of violation for a creosote and timber wall – dubbed “Fort Ticonderoga” – built under his building without the knowledge or approval of CRMC. He was scheduled to attend a CRMC violation hearing on that matter Tuesday, but the enforcement hearing was postponed after Finnegan submitted his erosion control plans, a CRMC spokeswoman said. The state council has said that wall must be removed before any alternative erosion prevention measures can be attempted in the area.
Finnegan has worked with GZA Environmental in the past to create a plan to repair an existing sea wall revetment near the Ocean Mist. This plan, which he proposed as an alternative to the town’s proposed sea wall, was not submitted to CRMC.
Finnegan has argued against construction of the town’s approved 202-foot sheet pile wall to be built along Matunuck Beach Road, beginning just west of his bar. South Kingstown officials maintain the land-side wall is needed to prevent Matunuck Beach Road from being compromised by storms and erosion; to protect the 240 homes that lie to the east of its proposed location; and to protect an additional 1,600 homes serviced by a water main that runs under the road. Finnegan has claimed the wall would not protect that area, and would damage the Ocean Mist. He filed a civil suit against the town in an attempt to block its construction.
As of Wednesday, town officials had not reviewed Finnegan’s erosion control plans, but indicated a willingness to compromise with him.