Plum Island residents advised to take steps to protect their homes

NEWBURY — State Senator Bruce Tarr today advised weary residents of storm-battered Plum Island, to “do whatever you have to do to protect your house.”

About 100 people attended a meeting with state, local, and federal officials today at the Plum Island Taxpayers and Associates Hall in Newbury to discuss erosion after the late winter storm Thursday and Friday that pounded the coast.

Tarr directed his advice to residents of the towns of Newburyport and Newbury, both of which claim parts of Plum Island, and Salisbury, which is on the coast just north of Newburyport.

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Tarr also said Federal Emergency Management Agency money would be available to some residents whose homes are threatened.

Some residents have said they have been barred by local and state regulations from protecting their homes.

A Gloucester Republican, Tarr is the co-chairman of the Merrimack River Beach Alliance and also the Senate minority leader. His district includes the island. Also attending the meeting was Democratic US Representative John Tierney.

Newbury officials said at least 40 homes are at risk, while 13 have been declared uninhabitable, six have severe structural damage, and three are being demolished.

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