Dune fight with reluctant homeowners heating up at the Shore

This summer may be a contentious one on the Jersey Shore as the state starts filing for eminent domain on oceanfront properties so that protective dunes can be finished.

The New Jersey Attorney General’s Office says, in the next several weeks, it expects to file for eminent domain on properties in Long Beach Island, Longport and Ocean City.

Shorefront property owners in those spots are refusing to sign about 400 easements, or permissions, allowing the Army Corps of Engineers to build protective dunes on private land.

Nearly 50 of those are on Long Beach Island, where dune construction started earlier this month.

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“Those are our highest priority,” said New Jersey Department of Environmental Protection Commissioner Bob Martin.

Martin said he hopes to get some of those permissions voluntarily. Otherwise, he said he will “push hard” to seek eminent domain on the properties to keep the LBI project on schedule for completion by next April.

Ship Bottom Mayor Bill Huelsenbeck said eminent domain proceedings are moving forward on a single property in the borough.

“We started that a year or so ago or maybe more in the borough, and now it’s at the state level,” Huelsenbeck said. “I’m sure it’ll go to the courts.”

Crews skipped over that property as they built dunes on either side.

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