The residents of Corinthian Cove are willing to do anything they can to protect their property from flood damage, even if that means taking legal action against the town.
At Tuesday's Environmental Commission meeting, borough officials discussed the challenges of converting the 's existing , an idea proposed by environmentalists to add additional public access to the Navesink River. In addition to a from replacing the bulkhead with a shoreline, residents of the adjacent high-end condominium development lodged their complaints against the idea, too.
"If something happens to our property as a result (of the conversion)," Corinthian Cove resident Michele Ciganek said during the meeting, "then you, the borough, will be held responsible."
Corinthian Cove is sandwiched on Front Street between , which has a bulkhead, and the library, which also has a bulkhead. Corinthian Cove, with units that , also has a bulkhead in addition to its private boardwalk, dock and Navesink River view. Ciganek and other residents are concerned that removing the bulkhead from the library could cause flooding or significant enough erosion that it could impact their property.
While residents of the complex are fine with the responsibility of maintaining their own bulkhead, and dealing with the consequences when storms and flooding cause the Navesink to rise above it, water coming in from adjacent properties will not be tolerated.
Commission member Stephen Mitchell tried to assuage Ciganek's fears about tidal flooding as a result of an elevated bulkhead being replaced with a shoreline. The living shoreline, he said, would likely not pose a risk. Flooding of the Corinthian Cove property happens when the river rises to a high enough level and the library property can neither protect the residential complex or harm it.
Similarly, Tim Dillingham, executive director of the American Littoral Society, said shorelines are naturally resistant to erosion compared to bulkheads, which generate significant amounts of energy and displacement of river ground by blocking waves.
Ciganek was not convinced.
"Are you giving me a guarantee," she asked. "If there's a guarantee that (flooding won't happen) and it does we'll come after you or the town."
In addition to a stern warning, at least one resident of Corinthian Cove is willing to give the borough a little sugar with its medicine. Ciganek said fellow Cove resident Rosemary Salow is willing to help Red Bank defray the cost of replacing the library bulkhead should it go that route.
It's unclear how much of a contribution Salow is willing to offer or if Red Bank is willing to, or able to, accept.