A New Jersey state legislator is among seven Brick Township oceanfront homeowners who refused to sign easements allowing a protective dune to be constructed along the township’s beachfront, leading to a condemnation of a portion of their properties.
Assemblyman Jack McKeon, a Democrat who represents the 27th legislative district in Essex County, owns a secondary home in the private Ocean Heights development in the township’s South Mantoloking section. There is no public beach access from any of the streets which comprise Ocean Heights.
Shorebeat sought comment from McKeon through his legislative chief of staff, but has not received a return phone call.
In 2013, when McKeon’s name first appeared on an initial list of properties whose owners had not signed easements, the assemblyman said he supported the project but wanted more information before signing.
“All we are seeking is a basic ‘meets and bounds’ description, which tells us where the dune will be located on the property, before we sign off on an easement in perpetuity,” McKeon said in a statement issued at the time.
Property records held at the Ocean County Clerk’s office show McKeon’s easement for a steel sea wall also had to be taken by force. A copy of a Brick Township council resolution authorizing the taking for that project is on file there.
The easements are required in order for federal officials to fund the construction of a 22 foot-high protective dune along Brick’s oceanfront, as well as at least 200 feet of beach berm to be built in front of the dune.
McKeon owns the home with three other family members, records show. In 2014, the homeowners paid $28,862 in taxes on the property, which is assessed at $1,374,100.
In addition to the McKeon property, the remaining six Brick homeowners whose easements were condemned Friday include:
- Robert Merrell
- D&R Rento Holdings LLC
- Patel & Warsi Living Trust
- Raymond Braun
- Neil & Suzanne Kahanovitz
A seventh homeowner is in last-minute talks with the state Department of Environmental Protection to potentially sign the easement documentation, a DEP spokesman said.