State will appeal award of $2.3M for Bay Head beachfront parcel

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Commissioners have set a value of $2.3 million for a parcel of Bay Head beachfront taken by the state for a beach replenishment project. FILE PHOTO

BAY HEAD — The state will appeal the award of $2.3 million in compensation to the Bay Head Improvement Association for a parcel of beachfront included in a coastal beach replenishment project, according to a spokesman for the state Attorney General’s Office.

“I can confirm that the commissioners did award $2.3 million to the Bay Head Improvement Association,” Leland Moore, press officer at the state Office of the Attorney General, said in an email.

“The state will be appealing to the Superior Court, where a jury will decide the appropriate compensation. We do not know when the trial will be scheduled.”

As part of an evaluation team established by the Ocean County Superior Court to examine and appraise the land and to fix just compensation for the owners, Commissioners Jill L. Thiemann and James A. Flanagan wrote in their decision,  “We are of the opinion that the prohibition against any use or occupancy of the property going forward essentially renders the property valueless for all purposes.”

According to court documents, during the hearing state officials argued that just compensation for the beachfront property should be set at $0.

The decision comes several months after a Superior Court judge ruled the state Department of Environmental Protections had the authority to take beachfront easements on properties in anticipation of the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers Manasquan Inlet to Barnegat Inlet Hurricane and Storm Damage Reduction Project.

Attorney Peter H. Wegener, representing the Bay Head Improvement Association, said he is pleased with the outcome of the compensation hearing.

“We are pleased with the results. The commissioners recognized the validity of what we have been saying for a long time,” he said. “If you take the property, you pay for the property.”

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