NJ getting tough over easements for protective dunes along coast

 A sand dune in Ventnor, New Jersey, ends at the border of Margate, which opposes construction of the protective dunes. (AP file photo)

A sand dune in Ventnor, New Jersey, ends at the border of Margate, which opposes construction of the protective dunes. (AP file photo)

New Jersey officials are stepping up efforts to get easements from homeowners so a protective dune system can go up along the coastline.

The state has been trying to convince about 350 holdout homeowners to grant easements for the project, but they’re not budging, said Bob Martin, commissioner of New Jersey’s Department of Environmental Protection Commissioner. So the state is moving forward with eminent domain actions.

‘We’ve got a lot of offers going out to people. We’ve done their appraisals. Now we’re going back to them offering to compensation them in some small amount if they want to for their appraisals,” Martin said Thursday. “If not, we’ll be filing complaints over the next three to four months.”

The legal action is worth the expense, he said.

“It’s costing us money, but the governor has decided this is the most important thing as part of the overall infrastructure of the state. So we’re going forward with it. There is some cost that we’re going to have to bear,” Martin said. “The federal government is helping with some of that cost as well because they see it as important as well.”

Most of the homeowners who have not granted easements are in Bay Head and Point Pleasant in northern Ocean County.

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