BY BOB HOLT
Beachfront property owners are concerned that the proposed building of sand dunes on their land will lower their property values. That’s not sitting well with New Jersey Governor Chris Christie.
Christie wants the owners to sign agreements to allow the building of large sand dunes on their property for protection against possible future storms like Hurricane Sandy, preferably by May 1.
The governor said he would use his “normal sense of gentle persuasion” to get the landowners to see things his way, according to CBS New York. “We will go town by town and if we have to start calling names out of the selfish ones who care more about their view than they care about the safety and the welfare of their neighbors, then we are going to start doing that.”
Christie hopes to use some of the $60 billion New Jersey received in federal disaster-relief aid in building the dunes. According to Newsmax, some residents have already signed agreements, but Christie said he has not ruled out legal action to gain access of those who refuse.
Some property owners fear that signing easements will allow later building of restrooms or a boardwalk. According to an Asbury Park Press story in USA Today, Benjamin Keiser, manager of New Jersey’s Bureau of Coastal Engineering, said work being done for the easement is confined to "the project,” beach and dune work.
The Army Corps of Engineers would do the dune construction. Some may be as high as 22 feet.
Speaking of the homeowners who have held out, Christie has said, according to NorthJersey.com, “They need to be told that there is something more important than their own self-interests. I’m not going to put up with people that decide their view of the Atlantic Ocean is more important than the lives and the properties of their neighbors.”
NorthJersey.com reported that attorney Peter Wegener represented Harvey and Phyllis Karan in a case last year when they claimed a sand dune devalued their property on Harvey Cedars by blocking their ocean view. A court awarded the couple $375,000. “Property rights are the rights of people,” Wegener said.