We normally don't post news items from outside Massachusetts, but this ongoing saga is just too interesting that we had to share. Plus, considering it's summer, it just makes for good "beach" reading.
Multiple news sources from the New Jersey shore area have been covering a story that has it all: beach access, erosion, easements, beach and dune restoration, eminent domain and, of course, litigation-both ongoing and probable.
In a nutshell, there has been some ongoing dune restoration and beach widening taking place (by the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers) since 2007 in some portions of the Jersey Shore area. What has complicated things, at least according to reports like this one, is that some portions are not being restored (either in 2007 or now in post-Hurricane Sandy 2013) because of some landowners (six of them) who have refused to execute the necessary easements that would allow the access required to undertake this work. This refusal has had consequences for neighboring properties and their owners that do want the restoration work to take place.
But it appears that patience for this kind of "hold out" thinking has worn thin in some communities, like Brick, NJ, which has threatened legal action against those who do not sign the much needed easements by August 1st.
And, in a related twist, one couple owning property in that area had used this dune restoration effort as a basis for a lawsuit claiming damages from their lost oceanfront views, which purportedly resulted from the creation of dunes during the restoration project. However, on Monday, July 8th, the New Jersey Supreme Court overturned the $375,000 judgment that had been awarded by the jury to those property owners. You can read another take on the story here. This higher court decision was a huge boost to towns in that area because without it, it might set the course for similar lawsuits by others who do not want the dunes. There will be a new trial where the jury must now also consider the benefits of the dune restoration as part of their overall determination of damages (if any) related to loss of views. Benefits that might even include saving a home from a punishing storm like Hurricane Sandy.
This continues to be an interesting (and instructive) story to watch this summer and, in particular, as we march toward another hurricane season. In the meantime, for another take on the issue (and one that's closer to the action), click here over to the blog written by some of the attorneys at McKirdy & Riskin, PA out of New Jersey.
Written by Kristen M. Ploetz, Esq., of Green Lodestar Communications & Consulting, LLC, on behalf of Jeffrey T. Angley, P.C. Edited by Jeffrey T. Angley, Esq.
Copyright (c) 2011-2013 by Jeffrey T. Angley, P.C. All rights reserved.
Disclaimer: The information contained in this post is general in nature and for educational purposes only. No personal legal advice is being provided. If you have an actual legal issue that needs to be addressed, you should seek the advice of competent legal counsel. This post does not create an attorney-client relationship between the reader and Jeffrey T. Angley, P.C., Phillips & Angley or their attorneys.