This article is an exploration of the barrier island's unique landform and the solution to its protection. By using Fire Island, a critical barrier island off the coast of Long Island, New York, as a case study, this article attempts to offer a paramount solution, "the beach zone." The authors begin by discussing the natural processes of the barrier islands, focusing on tidal cycles, sea level rising, and periodic storm surges, which threaten development on them. They illustrate the dynamic nature of the barrier islands that often make them unsuitable for permanent development. To date, the primary focus of both the private and public sectors has been on solutions that involve structural engineering. The authors show that many of these efforts have been futile and, in some cases, have led to more destruction than protection. The authors move on to discuss the recent focus on nonstructural solutions to alleviate the shortcomings of structural solutions. However, these nonstructural solutions have their own inherent problems that limit their scope and effect. There is a regulatory solution available that is both effective and practical. The authors propose a solution - a zoning ordinance to be adopted by municipal legislatures.
Recommended CitationJessica VanTine and Tiffany B. Zezula, The Beach Zone: Using Local Land Use Authority to Preserve Barrier Islands , 20 Pace Envtl. L. Rev. 299 (2003)
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