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East End Residents Frustrated With Army Corps Over Post-Sandy Repairs

NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) -- Residents on the East End of Long Island are fed up with federal bureaucracy in the face of rebuilding after Hurricane Sandy.

Montauk, Long Island sustained severe damage during Sandy, and in response, the federal government promised a comprehensive dune and beach repair project that would protect the East End tourist destination from flooding and erosion.

As CBS 2's Jennifer McLogan reported, it's been 18 months since Sandy struck and now on the cusp of the 2014 hurricane season, Montauk residents are calling the federal emergency project to protect their vulnerable East End community pathetic.

"We feel that the project that's proposed is far too small for anything meaningful for the community-- it is borderline slap in the face," Montauk hotel owner Steve Kalimnios said.

Kalimnios' Royal Atlantic sits among a row of hotels overlooking Montauk beach, just weeks away from seasonal throngs of tourists.

He said the entire hamlet could suffer another significant breach and flooding, now that the Army Corps of Engineers is scaling back on its post-Sandy pledge to elevate the beach, and build up the protective dunes.

Instead the Army Corps plans to try a short-term, bridge the gap fix with $6 million worth of sand bags.

Many residents in the area feel the plan is doomed to fail.

"There is a serious concern that downtown Montauk in particular will be devastated under the current circumstances," said Montauk resident Perry Duryea III.

Generations of Duryea's family have seen the worst of unpredictable storms and worry that their downtown, which is below sea level, would be doomed in a Category 3 hurricane.

The Army Corps, however, said that its work in the area must be done in stages, so that it does not overlap or conflict with a second, approved project slated to start in 2016.

Called "FIMP," it would rebuild dunes and elevate some homes along sections of the 83-miles of shoreline from Fire Island to Montauk Point.

"It's very difficult dealing with the Army Corps. They have their processes," East Hampton Town Supervisor Larry Cantwell said.

So instead of one project done all at once, residents worry that in waiting extra years, erosion and storms will ruin their vulnerable beach.

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