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New Jersey Coast to Get Disputed, Long-delayed Sand Dunes

Posted on October 4, 2016

By Wayne Parry, The Washington Times

Almost four years after Superstorm Sandy pummeled his neighborhood so badly that Britain’s Prince Harry had to stop by for a look at the damage, Paul Jeffrey is ready to sleep soundly again.

His Ortley Beach community in Toms River, New Jersey called itself ground zero of the 2012 storm that washed entire neighborhoods off the map and in some cases, into the bay.

It is among shore towns in a 14-mile stretch of coast that will soon be getting protective sand dunes as part of a $150 million project that has been repeatedly delayed by litigation from some property owners. New Jersey officials solicited bids last week for the project, which Environmental Protection Commissioner Bob Martin said should begin in the spring.

“It actually lets people sleep at night,” said Jeffrey, president of the Ortley Beach Voters and Taxpayers Association. “When these storms come through, people have trouble sleeping. They don’t know if they’re going to wake up to water pouring through their homes. This is a stress-reliever.”

But for homeowners fighting against the plan, it is a nightmare. The state has obtained nearly 350 easements from oceanfront property owners who voluntarily gave permission for the dunes to be built on part of their land. But 149 others are fighting the state’s condemnation proceedings court: 83 in Bay Head; 53 in Point Pleasant Beach; nine in Berkeley, and four in Mantoloking.

Some don’t want to lose their ground-floor oceanfront views. Others object to the government seizing private property, and still others, including a group in Bay Head that has spent millions of dollars of their own money on a rock wall between their homes and the ocean, say it’s simply not needed.

Source: The Washington Times

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