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Dune Project Could be Delayed Again; 21 Brick Homeowners Held Out on Easements

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The exposed steel wall revetment at Brick Beach III has created a drop in the beachfront. (Photo: Daniel Nee)
The exposed steel wall revetment at Brick Beach III has created a drop in the beachfront. (Photo: Daniel Nee)

If eminent domain proceedings are not settled soon, the township could potentially have to wait close to another year before a federal beach replenishment project begins, officials said.

Brick had a total of 21 individual property owners and four homeowners’ associations that refused to sign easements allowing the project, in which 22 foot dunes and at least 200 feet of beach berm, would be constructed to protect the integrity of the barrier island. Of the 25 homeowners, 21 have had eminent domain complaints filed against them, Mayor John Ducey said, down from 32.

Of the four homeowners’ associations, two are expected to ultimately sign the easement documents by Friday, said Joanne Bergin, the township’s business administrator.

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In the end, seven homeowners – including state Assemblyman Jack McKeon (D-Essex), who owns a summer home in the private Ocean Heights development – agreed to accept the state’s offer for their slivers of land which need to be accessed by construction crews in order for the dunes to be built.

The eminent domain cases are currently pending before Superior Court Judge Marlene Lynch Ford. If the matters are not settled shortly, Ducey said, the project may not go out to bid until next fall, meaning it is likely work would not start until close to a year from now.

“The bidding process … there’s going to be legal challenges to that as well,” Ducey predicted.

The beach replenishment and dune-building project, funded by the federal government, was supposed to have already been completed following the installation of a steel wall. The dunes were supposed to have been built over top of the wall, but since the project never got off the ground, waves have scoured sand from the base of the wall, creating close to 20-foot drops in areas. There is a possibility that some beaches may remain inaccessible come summer.

“We’re going to do what we can to provide access ramps,” said Ducey.

A coastal storm battered local beaches Monday and Tuesday, with Toms River bringing in crews to build temporary berms in their portion of the Normandy Beach neighborhood. Brick’s portion was largely protected by the wall, but some residents said the southernmost streets remain vulnerable.

“We’re out there every day, including at 6:30 a.m. at high tide,” said Bergin.

The township has a contract for emergency sand deliveries if required, and has a stockpile of sand ready to deploy. Bergin said the township’s sand supply, however, is finite.

“We don’t have another $1 million budgeted this year for more sand, so we are careful not to have it depleted,” she said.


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  • Chuck Cumella

    Holdout=selfish bastard!!! SIGN THE EASEMENTS NOW!

    • Mac

      with or without easements, the American public has become so individually and hopelessly self-centered, without any thought of compromise, that leadership bearing any hope of overcoming the will of Mother Nature is at best a fantasy of fantasies – you can continue to spit into the wind for the rest of your life Chuck for all the right reasons, but the final results have already been determined – we’re going to spent billions and billions of taxpayer money to promote kneepad political parasites that are enriching themselves with this fairy princess fairy tale to only end up doing what common sense says to do now: move to higher ground while you still have some means left to do so on your own

  • Tim Sharkey
  • Spell Check

    Don’t fund this with my taxes. Divide the amount of homes on the shoreline by the cost of the project than put tax leans on each and every home across the shoreline. Investors are waiting out for us to pay for this so they can profit off them homes and 95% of brick lives off barrier island. Horrible local Governent yet again

    • Scott

      Spell Check go to the town hall and demand the barrier leave the township. You want to pay no more money for island repairs. Then met the barrier island worry about beach sand and easements.

      • Spell Check

        I never said they leave the township. I am stating our tax dollars should not be going to bail out there investment oceanfrontt properties. They need to pay their taxes but that does t mean taxes Go to this nonsense projects it goes to the local town system. If the town threatened that all funding would be lost with a deadline the easements would be signed and finished that day. Let them pay for it themselves and walk away from it. But they will continue to pay there taxes

      • Scott

        You said “Don’t fund this with my taxes” the barrier Island pays millions of dollars in taxes about 26 million ( it could be down some because there are less houses). The beach replenishment is all federal money. I am ok if the town does not want to open the beaches this summer. The associations always did their own beach repairs to the tune of thousands of dollars every year. They pay for their own lifeguards. What’s your beef then?

      • SoWhat?

        Thats right. Dont dump any more sand in ocean using taxpayers dollars. If the beach is privately owned then the home owner/beach owner replaces his own sand, or sells their property.

        If it is a township owned beach, then charge a user fee to the beach goers to replenish the sand.

        How long are we going to keep dumping millions of dollars of sand into the ocean?

        There are only a few houses with beach front property on Ocean. All millionaires.

        The majority of houses on barrier are not on ocean and do not need beach sand paid by taxpayers.

        If the state condemns and takes all the beachfront and makes all beaches in NJ free to the public, then I would agree to the state tax money going to beach replenishment.

        The entire coast of jersey beaches must be open and free to the public.

      • Scott

        So What since you seem to know about the beaches, how much money has the town spent on private beaches? All beaches are public today. You can walk on the beach from point pleasant to Island Beach State park. You can stop anywhere and swim. You cannot go sit on somebodies private property deck. It all depends on whos OX is being gored.

      • SoWhat?

        Hey Einstein, If all beaches are public then we dont need easements for dunes.

        Next thing you will tell me is they are all free.

      • Scott

        They want to build the dunes big enough to with stand the next storm. So they are going all the way from the public portion of the beach, the mean of the winter and summer high water mark, back into peoples yards. They are only taking 10 feet from some people 20 from others maybe 50 at most. I am for it. I think they are wrong for fighting it but a judge said they have the right. So do you know how much the town spent on the beaches? The people on the Island pay about 26 million in property taxes and use little if any service for 9 months. Plus almost no kids in school!

      • Spell Check

        not true, during beach season you need a badge for each township. if i walked the beach and stopped and sat at the sand id need a beach badge for each individual township with a daily rate for $10-15 so to take an average family of four is $60 in cases. i live less than a mile from the ocean i don’t see any benefits from it but a burden to go to the beach. i should be able to go to brick beach with my property tax statement and that should be good enough if i want to host a 50 person beach party

      • Scott

        Well Mr. Spell Check that is not the law. You can walk any beach and stop anywhere. A Brick beach badge was I think $35 last year. I do not think that is a large amount for a beach for the summer. If people kick you of call the police. I have walked the whole beach, swam at numerous places on a hot day and never been asked to leave. As a matter of fact there are places up by Sea Brite where they put a low rope where somebodies private property starts. You will admit, I hope, that private property has to start somewhere as you head west off the beach?

  • SoWhat?

    Ducey better not raise taxes to dump more sand on the beaches.

    Raise beach badge prices and get rid of some of the 100 life guards.

    Little Brick beach has more life guards than Seaside, Belmar , Jenkinsons, Manasquan.

    Brick beach is a patronage pit for teachers, students and family members of politicians

  • Jon Koehler

    They should all lose their Flood Insurance Coverage, and if they suffer damage greater than 60% should have their property condemned and demo without rebuilding rights.