N.J. may change compensation formula for condemned beachfront sites

    New Jersey lawmakers want to change how homeowners are compensated when beachfront property is condemned for Shore protection projects.

    Some beachfront owners have been awarded big payouts for easements because the height of the dunes blocks their view of the ocean and lowers their property value.

    Senator Jim Whelan says it’s not just the loss of a view that should be considered.

    “Figures came in at $350,000. That’s a lot of money for a town or the state to have to pay if you have multiple properties with easements,” said Whelan, D-Atlantic. “All of sudden now you can’t afford to have your dune system, and the dunes are in fact protecting those properties the most of anyone.”

    The Senate Environment Committee has advanced legislation that would also require the protection those beach projects provide to be calculated in determining how much homeowners get for the easements.

    New Jersey Sierra Club director Jeff Tittel is in agreement

    “What you do on your property impacts everyone else,” he said. “A lot of times when we look valuations, we never look at the overall valuation, which is protecting that person’s house and other people’s houses from damages and the cost to the public for emergency services to rescue people.”

    Committee chairman Bob Smith, who says he expects the measure will end up being challenged in court, said he believes it will withstand constitutional scrutiny.

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