HURRICANE SANDY: Storm rips apart seawalls, strong waves erode Manalapan backyards

Residents struggle protecting eroding property

MANALAPAN, Fla. -- - A vision of paradise for many residents in Manalapan turned into a tainted mess on Monday due to the power of the aftermath of Hurricane Sandy.

Numerous beachfront properties along South Ocean Boulevard sat damaged after suffering through a continuous pounding by strong waves and high tide.

In one backyard, most of the ground had slipped into the Atlantic. On another property, the waves were too strong and toppled an entire seawall.

"We got the report yesterday, scared me to death," said Hartley Peavey, a Manalapan resident. "I flew down and walked out and happy to say the damage doesn't seem to be as bad as I had feared."

Peavey considers himself one of the more fortunate residents. His neighbor to the north watched the tide rip their pool away. The home to the south lost most of the yard, leaving a hot tub teetering on the edge into the ocean.

"We've gone through Francis and Jeanne and Wilma and probably a few more I don't remember, Andrew and we had minimal damage. This is the most damage we've had," said Peavey.

Peavey, who just repaired his wall, is relieved to see it held up to the tests of Hurricane Sandy. But since both properties surrounding him did not, he worried the small portion of his land missing will continue to erode. Peavey, like other residents, hopes the Town of Manalapan will step in to help.

"The town repair the walls? The walls are all private property and what the town can do is what we're doing now to help expedite the permitting process," said Linda Stumpf, the town manager of Manalapan.

Stumpf and Mayor Basil Diamond issued a "local state of emergency" which helps residents apply immediately for permits to make repairs.

Peavey and others said they were not surprised and hoped the repairs do not come when it is too late.

"I love the ocean, but I respect her very much. So I guess what we do is keep our fingers crossed and take all the precautions that we can," said Peavey.

Peavey said the first step is repairing the seawalls followed by filling in the eroded spots with sand.

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