Holdouts interrupt protective dune system along Jersey Shore

As the hurricane season nears, New Jersey’s Environmental Protection commissioner says the planned dune protection system along the Jersey Shore still has some weak spots.

Beach restoration work is under way in Allenhurst and Deal in Monmouth County and should begin soon on Long Beach Island, said Commissioner Bob Martin.

But a protective dune project in northern Ocean County has been stalled as residents refuse to allow the easements to let the work proceed.

“We’re going to have to go through full eminent domain process on those, especially for places like Bay Head and others because the mayor and the town will not support it. Out of 124 easements we need, all we have is two,” Martin said. “We’ve got a lot of people that are being very selfish right now.”

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Margate is also waging a legal battle against the dune construction designed to shield homes and infrastructure from major storms.

Assemblyman Declan O’Scanlon said that could put communities at risk.

“I take nothing away from one’s own concern with one’s property, but we have the whole state to worry about,” said O’Scanlon, R-Monmouth. “And I hope that changes before we spend too much … trying to force these folks to let us help them and protect their assets.”

Martin said he hopes the eminent domain process can be wrapped up by summer’s end.

The hurricane season runs from June 1 through the end of November.

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