Jersey shore homeowners might understand the federal government taking their property and building sand dunes on part of it but they're asking for and not receiving drawings or assurance from anyone including Chris Christie that any number of other things won't be done with their property
3/17/13, "Dunes vs. property rights in storm-battered NJ," AP, Wayne Parry
"Most coastal homeowners want the government to build dunes and widen beaches near their homes. Yet some still refuse to give permission for the projects to proceed, citing the loss of precious ocean views and fearing governments could build boardwalks or amusement piers near their homes — something officials stress they have no intention of doing. The prospect of honky-tonk entertainment districts like the one in Seaside Heights, once home to the hard-partying Snooki and company of the reality show "Jersey Shore," is anathema to many in oceanfront neighborhoods where even smaller houses can go for several million dollars.
The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers won't begin such projects without signed easements from all the affected oceanfront homeowners that give them permission to access the property for the work. Sandy has only intensified an effort that had been under way since at least 2008 to get the holdouts to sign.
But Gov. Chris Christie has little sympathy for lost views. "For the people that didn't want a dune to block their view, they now no longer have a house to block the view from," he said. "So, how about that choice?" He said he may seek to force the holdouts to submit the dune work, whether through eminent domain or some other governmental maneuver.
Sandy has indeed changed some minds. Mantoloking, which was nearly obliterated by Sandy, has signed easements or verbal commitments from 120 of the 128 oceanfront owners it needs to proceed with beach work. And many of the towns on Long Beach Island are closing in on their final pockets of holdouts, five years after first asking....
A bill pending in the Legislature would force courts to consider the value of protection from storms that dune projects add to oceanfront homes when calculating damages for lost water views....
Several of the private beach associations in hard-hit Toms River are refusing to sign easements, to the great frustration of Mayor Thomas Kelaher.
"They worry we might put a merry-go-round or a hot dog stand in their front yard," he said, rolling his eyes. "People are so crazy not to sign it. I just can't believe people are so obstinate."...
Mantoloking — like most of New Jersey's hardest-hit areas, situated on a barrier island — suffered the state's worst destruction; every last one of its 521 homes was damaged, and scores were simply washed off the map. The storm cut a channel between the ocean and Barnegat Bay, severing the town in two before repairs filled the breach....
Yet even after all the damage Sandy did, the fear of the public encroaching on heretofore private patches of the coast remains a powerful deterrent for some homeowners.
Michael Becker, who owns an advertising firm, owns a vacation home on the ocean in Mantoloking. He signed — but only reluctantly.
"I don't mind that the government would own the land they place in front of ours," he said. "All I ask for and didn't get is a clause saying they won't build a boardwalk or some other form of entertainment in front of our house. They say, no, they're not going to add anything. But it doesn't guarantee that the government can't add a boardwalk in front of our house. We only want to protect against what the government can do."
Mark Donohue, whose father owns an oceanfront house in Mantoloking, supports the beach protection project. But he said his father, too, is concerned about what the government might do once it gets the right to some of the beachfront land.
"This project should happen; it needs to happen," he said. "The common good is a good thing, but you can't just do away with private property rights.""
A 3/27/13 article below doesn't make clear that it's the federal government taking over the land, not a state or local government. A commenter to the article, posted below, says people are being asked to sign a blank deed, and given "trust me tactics from the government....Why can't the governor tell anyone where the dune is going. He can't that's why he is blaming it on views."
3/26/13, "Christie Blasts ‘Selfish’ Homeowners Who Oppose Dunes To Protect Shore Communities," newyork.cbslocal.com, Haskell
"Gov. Chris Christie is implementing a unique tool in an effort to break down some Jersey Shore homeowners’ resistance to the idea of building sand dunes to fortify communities against storm damage.
Speaking from Middlesex on Tuesday, the famously brash governor announced he will personally announce the names of all those who have yet to sign easements to let the government build dunes.
“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 said. “I will use my normal sense of gentle persuasion to try to make sure that we bring people along.”"...
"Brick Beach • 2 days ago
Look what the governor is asking people to do in some communities like Brick is to sign an easement that signs over your whole property with no indication to where the dune is going to be placed. Since there are no drawings, no nothing you could be signing a document that puts a dune right over your house. Its a blank deed. The governor should stop blaming this on views and get the NJDEP and the Army Corps of engineers to tell people where the dune is going to be placed. Not everyone who is being asked to sign the easement has a view, actually only a small portion of them. For those with a view, its not their primary concern. Their primary concern, is so you want to build a dune, so where are you going to build it. If it was really important for the Governor to build the dune, he would make his departments release the info of where the dune is going to be built, when is it going to be built. I guess the people in the Governors corner are ok with the trust me tactics from the government. If people actually knew what they were signing for there might actually be alot of support for the project. Why cant the governor tell anyone where the dune is going. He can't that's why he is blaming it on views."
"Gov. Christie holds a town hall meeting in Middlesex, March 26, 2013 (credit: Peter Haskell/WCBS 880)
"In this Feb. 15, 2013 photo, one of the well-established sand dunes in Seaside Park N.J., is shown that helped protect oceanfront homes during Superstorm Sandy, while its neighbor to the north, Seaside Heights, suffered catastrophic damage without dunes. Sandy showed how dunes protect homes along the coast, yet not all oceanfront property owners want them, fearing lost waterfront views and fearing that giving the government permission to build bigger dunes could lead to construction of boardwalks or amusements behind their pricey homes. (AP Photo/Wayne Parry)" Tweet Stumbleupon StumbleUpon