Ocean City will use eminent domain to secure the easements necessary to begin planning dune and beach replenishment projects, Mayor Jay Gillian said in an open letter to residents.
Gillian said, in a letter posted to the municipal website Friday, that he’s authorized the city’s attorney to begin condemnation proceedings. While a number of homeowners have voluntarily provided the easements, he said some have not.
“The lessons of Hurricane Sandy are not complicated,” he said. “Those areas that had viable dune systems suffered little or no damage.”
The first priority is obtaining easements for the remaining properties south of 34th Street. Gillian said city officials met in Trenton this week to coordinate those efforts with the state.
“Our actions are consistent with the guidance of the Attorney General's Office, which Gov. (Chris) Christie has appointed to oversee the acquisition of easements throughout the state,” he said.
Many municipalities have wrestled with the issue of beach replenishment and dune construction in the wake of the October storm.
On Tuesday, Christie issued an executive order stating that no municipality can “enact or enforce” any measure that would interfere with the state's dune-building plans.
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