Deadline looms for beachfront owners after dune ruling

Bay Head beachfront. FILE PHOTO / THE OCEAN STAR

BAY HEAD — Beachfront homeowners have 45 days to decide whether to challenge a court ruling in favor of the state’s right to take their properties for a federal beach protection project.

“The oceanfront owners have not yet decided whether they will appeal,” Anthony F. DellaPelle, an attorney for homeowners in Bay Head and Mantoloking, said in an email, adding the decision does not need to be made for several more weeks.

“The only comment that I can offer at this time is that the owners are disappointed with the ruling, especially in light of the court’s finding that they made a “very compelling” case that the government’s project was not necessary due to the pre-existing storm protection provided by the revetment system already in place.”

In a 52-page decision released Wednesday, Aug. 16, Judge Marlene Lynch Ford ruled against the more than 50 property owners who claimed that an existing privately funded 1.8-mile rock revetment wall along the beachfront provides sufficient storm protection. She set a hearing date of Friday, Sept. 15, to enter final judgement and to appoint three condemnation commissioners who would be responsible for determining fair and just compensation for the numerous oceanfront properties where easements will be taken by eminent domain to allow the dune project to proceed.

“We are pleased to learn of the ruling of Judge Ford in our favor in this important property protection case,” DEP Commissioner Bob Martin said in a statement.

For more on this story, read The Ocean Star—on newsstands Friday or online in our e-Edition.