Construction equipment will be arriving on Chappaquiddick Friday for the first phase of a complex house move on Wasque Point, where erosion threatens Richard and Jennifer Schifter’s house.
The Edgartown selectmen Monday approved use of part of Chappaquiddick Point parking lot from March 27 through April 3 to unload equipment for moving the house, garage and guest house, as well as a neighboring house that the family purchased to make room for their house move.
The complex project with many moving parts has been the subject of a near-weekly meetings in town hall, as project engineers and planners seek the proper approval to move the house 275 feet back from the eroding bluff.
As of last week, the guest house was 40 feet away from the bluff. George Sourati, the engineer for the project, received approval from the planning board last week to move the guest house as soon as possible, storing it temporarily on the basketball court.
On Monday, the health agent, highway superintendent, police chief, Chappy Ferry captain, Chappaquiddick residents and members of the planning board and conservation commission gathered with the selectmen to discuss some of the logistics of the move. Most of the information had already been presented to the conservation commission and the planning board; both boards have meetings scheduled this week to discuss approving the remainder of the project.
A barge is slated to come to the Island on Friday, and it will take a four or five days (with a day off for Easter Sunday) to unload materials, including steel beams, jacks and moving equipment, via crane. Unloading will take place just north of the Chappy ferry dock. Joe Jakubik, of International Chimney Corporation, which is responsible for the house move, said the unloading should not interfere with the Chappy ferry traffic, and that unloading will require about 34 truck trips between Chappy Point and Wasque. The project will also require the use of trucks that will be transported to Chappaquiddick via the Chappy ferry.
Mr. Jakubik said the barge will be stored in Oak Bluffs overnight, and that he would meet with police chief Antone Bettencourt about a police escort for larger beams. Chappy Ferry owner Peter Wells said he had no concerns about the plan so far.
Meanwhile town administrator Pamela Dolby said residents have had concerns about the number of truck trips the project will require over Chappaquiddick’s rural roads.
Mr. Sourati said that up to 5,600 yards of fill will have to be removed from the site, though some or all of that might be used as beach nourishment. Anything that isn’t used would be taken to a Land Bank property on Chappaquiddick. If all of the fill was removed, Mr. Sourati said, it would take about 280 truck trips each way.
The first layer of top soil will be salvaged, Mr. Sourati said, and temporarily stored off-site at property owned by Gerald Jeffers. At an estimated 4,300 yards of top soil, that would be 215 truck trips each way, Mr. Sourati said.
While the main house will be moved with foundation intact, the foundations of the guest house, garage and Leland house will all have to be rebuilt, and the original foundations detached and trucked to the Goodale Pit, Mr. Jakubik said, making for about 48 truck trips total.
Highway superintendent Stuart Fuller said the trips to unload the barge next week should not be an issue, though he parts of the road might need repairs after the truck trips.
“The key thing of concern for residents and the ferry would be to have some forewarning of when this is all going to happen so we can schedule our appointments and what have you, and allow enough time,” Chappaquiddick resident Roger Becker said.