Should Easement Holdouts Be Named Publicly? [AUDIO]
The fate of that 11-mile dune project from the Manasquan Inlet down to the Barnegat Inlet rests in the hands of the property owners refusing to sign the easements.
The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers is ready to move on it but can't until the necessary permissions come in. Towns up and down the Jersey Shore are understandably concerned and stressed about the issue. As a result, they are now resorting to some unusual squeeze tactics.
Long Beach Township and Toms River were the first to name the holdouts on their web site. Now, Mantoloking recently mentioned five property owners during a council meeting.
While there is nothing illegal about it, Toms River Attorney John Paul Doyle, with the law firm Carluccio, Leone, Dimon, Doyle & Sacks, L.L.C., says "it may not be the best way to get someone to change their mind, especially with a legitimate concern about their property."
You know the old saying "you catch more flies with honey?"
According to Doyle, calling out these people at meetings and on the web will only stir up a hornet's nest. Would there be any way a person can sue the municipality? It's unlikely thanks to the Doctrine of Sovereign Immunity, which would protect the community.
Doyle adds a civil discussion between the town officials and the property owner about the language in the easement is probably a better bet.
The project could be vital to the health and well-being of the shore. With so many rebuilding their homes and businesses, what happens when another storm comes our way? Nor'easters are quite common in our area and the dunes can help during those types of weather events too.
On Long Beach Island, work has already begun on some of the dunes and replenishment projects. They are skipping the places where there were owners refusing to sign.
There is no definitive deadline as to when the federal aid would be stopped and the project canceled. They are hoping it doesn't come to that.