A large house on Chappaquiddick inched slowly toward its destination this week across a deep, sandy trench at Wasque point, as early summer fog blew in and out and the ocean continued to eat away at a rapidly eroding bluff nearby.

Work progressed to relocate the 8,300-square-foot home owned by Richard and Jennifer Schifter.


- Ray Ewing

The actual house move, which follows months of preparation, began on Saturday and is expected to be complete by midweek, project engineer George Sourati said Monday.

The Schifter home has been excavated and supported by steel beams and rests on a series of small dollies, its foundation intact. A trench has been dug between the house and its new location about 275 feet away. Piles of sandy subsoil surround the work site.

The work is being done by Expert House Movers of Maryland and overseen by International Chimney Corporation, a New York company that specializes in building relocation.

But even though it will rest on new footings in a few days, the house move is far from the end of the project. Once the home is placed on its footings, Mr. Sourati said, a stone wall will be built between the footings and the house, and the steel beams will slowly be removed.

A garage on the property still has to be moved, and a guest house that was temporarily relocated to make way for the house move will also have to be moved to its new spot.

The Schifters completed building the house in 2007. Rapid erosion from the Norton Point breach threatened the house, and late last year discussions began before the town about an emerging plan for relocation. The plan was approved in March.

This winter the Schifters purchased a neighboring property and home to make way for the relocation, and that house has already been moved to its final spot.


- Ray Ewing

And the house move was not the only project underway on Monday at the Schifter property.

A system of coconut fiber logs built to slow the erosion on the bluff is also under construction this week, Mr. Sourati said. The envelopes, called coir log envelopes, are stacked against the bluff and have to be repaired because several had collapsed, he said. The bluff has had an additional 10 feet of erosion recently.

The coir envelopes will remain in place at least until the excavated areas have been filled in and compacted, Mr. Sourati said.

“Everyone is working very well together,” Mr. Sourati said, with a “good system going.”

The move happened about a week ahead of schedule, he said, because the process went quicker than expected.

He praised the workers and the town.  “Now the next phase is getting started,” Mr. Sourati said.

 

For more photos of the house move in progress, see our gallery: Chappy House Move Seen from Air