SOUTH KINGSTOWN, R.I. (WPRI) – After years of debate, a decision has been made over whether a seawall should be constructed on Matunuck Beach.
On Tuesday, the Rhode Island Coastal Resources Management Council (CRMC) voted 6 to 2 in favor of rebuilding and maintaining an existing 60-foot wall that’s located right in front of Ocean Mist restaurant, a popular summer spot.
After years of erosion, the owner of Ocean Mist, Kevin Finnegan, will be allowed to construct a stronger seawall that he says protects not only his restaurant, but the road that leads to neighboring homes.
CRMC approved a plan at a meeting Tuesday night, that will allow Finnegan to restore the wall for $2 million; that money will come out of his pocket.
The decision comes just days after Governor Gina Raimondo called for a resolution.
The CRMC has strict regulations prohibiting new shoreline construction, but the proposal approved Tuesday meets the council’s standards, according to council president Grover Fugate, who believes the right decision was made.
Now, Fugate says Finnegan can finally get to work on constructing that wall.
There was a full house at Tuesday’s meeting, with upwards of 100 people present.
The room erupted in applause after the plan was approved.