Easement Holdouts In Mantoloking
By Phil Gregory, WBGO News
June 12, 2013
Mantoloking is one of the Jersey Shore towns that suffered the most devastation from Sandy.
Five of the 128 oceanfront property owners there are refusing to sign easements to allow protective dunes to be built on the beach.
Chris Nelson is special counsel to the mayor and borough council. He doubts the decision to publicly identify the holdouts will convince them to sign the easements so Mantoloking can be part of a comprehensive beach replenishment project.
“Probably not. We’ve spent at least a couple months, four to five months, giving people the facts about the Army Corps projects and all the benefits. So they have all the information, and we’ll need to move along and do what we need to do to make sure the Army project happens in Mantoloking.”
Nelson says the borough is working with the state to determine whether to pursue eminent domain proceedings against those property owners.
“We really don’t have any other choice. Route 35 runs through the center of Mantoloking, and it’s the artery to the Jersey Shore. If Route 35 closes down that means that construction stops in the towns south of us, and it means dollars don’t get spent at the boardwalk, the concession stands, the restaurants, and everything else.”
Nelson says dunes in Mantoloking would also prevent storm surges from pushing the ocean water into the bay.
“Once that happens we know all of our neighbors across the bay in Brick Township, Point Pleasant, Toms River, Bay Head got flooded, and we want to prevent that from happening as well.”
Nelson says one way or another officials will get the easements so the Army Corps of Engineers can move ahead with the project.