Jersey Shore towns bank on eminent domain to build dunes

December 26, 2013 03:56PM

Several towns along the Hurricane Sandy-battered Jersey Shore plan to seize private property under eminent domain in order to build protective coastal dunes.

Of the 2,000 property owners that the state needed to sign easements for construction of the dunes, roughly 780 have refused to participate, necessitating the use of the controversial policy. New Jersey Governor Chris Christie sanctioned the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers program, which is expected to break ground on the dunes early next year. The program provides a proving ground for the thesis that dunes could spare communities flooding during future hurricanes. The towns decide whether to contribute to a federal fund that pays the U.S. Army Corps to spray sand into dunes on their beaches.

“Once it becomes clear that legal proceedings are going to be filed against them, we expect most homeowners will focus and think about whether they want to get in the way,” Christie’s chief counsel Christopher Porrino told the Wall Street Journal. [WSJ] and [Gothamist]Mark Maurer