Environment: Shrinking Shores

Overdevelopment, poor planning and nature take their toll

Patricia and Francis O'Malley bought their summer home in Long Island's fashionable Westhampton Beach four years ago. "There used to be a dune in front and a beach in front of that," Patricia recalls. "The very first winter we had a horrible storm, and we lost the dune." Two years later gale- force winds blew the house's roof and top floor off. "We rebuilt a whole new house. Since then, we've lost 8 ft. of sand." Now, she complains, "there's water under the house. The steps are gone. The houses on both sides of ours are gone." She adds bitterly, "And...

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