The Christie Administration has filed its first eminent domain actions to attain easements from beachfront property owners in northern Ocean County required by the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers to construct a federally funded engineered beach and dune project that will protect one of the areas hardest hit by Superstorm Sandy from severe storms and flooding.
The filings against seven property holders in Brick Township last week build upon the ongoing work by the State to secure easements necessary to construct vital coastal projects that will protect lives, homes, businesses and infrastructure from storm surges and flooding.
The actions were filed in Ocean County Superior Court. There are currently 283 easements still outstanding on the northern Ocean County peninsula, held by 176 property owners.
“It is disappointing that we need to go through such considerable legal efforts to obtain easements from holdouts who continue to delay our efforts to safeguard our coast, particularly in northern Ocean County, where Superstorm Sandy did the most damage,” Department of Environmental Protection Commissioner Bob Martin said.
“We will continue to be aggressive in seeking condemnation of portions of remaining properties in northern Ocean County and elsewhere along the coast to avoid any further delays for these critical Army Corps beach projects that will protect lives and property,” Commissioner Martin added.
From mid-October through last week, the state has filed a total of 28 eminent domain actions against beachfront property owners along the New Jersey coast.
USACE and DEP are currently undertaking a $128 million beach and dune construction project on Long Beach Island, which is slated for completion next spring.
A $57.6 million beach and dune project in southern Ocean City, the Strathmere section of Upper Township and Sea Isle City in Cape May County was completed last month. A $38.2 million project to construct beaches and improve infrastructure in the area of Loch Arbour, Allenhurst and Deal in Monmouth County has also been completed.