Monday, August 23, 2010

Neighbor Against Neighbor on Long Beach Island

Long Beach Township, NJ, on Long Beach Island, has posted the names of property owners that have not signed their easements to relinquish their property allowing the replenishment project to go forward. Unfortunately, the Township did not learn from the Borough of Harvey Cedars, also on Long Beach Island, where neighbor was pitted against neighbor and things got ugly. A "Mob Rules" mentality took over the pro-replenishment crowd and it got to the point that non-easement signers were afraid to go out to the store.

See the website

The list of homeowners is not buried somewhere on the site. It is right on the homepage, under the smiling picture of the Mayor.

This news story mentions residents sitting down and "talking" to these holdouts in the near future. I am not hopeful that will go smoothly. More here

The truth is there are hundreds of people in Long Beach Township who have not signed their easements, but the town is focusing on these few because they plan to replenish a small section of town first. In fact the NJ DEP changed their beach access rule in 2007 specifically for Long Beach Township which has four non-contiguous sections of town on one island. Instead of requiring signed easements for the whole town before a beachfill was possible, the state decided a string of signed easements in a given section was enough for replenishment in that section.

Without attending the meeting I can tell you what they are going to talk about. Here are people's main problems with the easements.
1) They are permanent.
2) They are assignable
3) They make you give up the rights to part of your property but you still pay taxes on it and you still have liability on it.

What's sad is that despite everything you've heard, there is no written requirement by the Army Corps to obtain permanent easements. Temporary ones have been used before in other Army Corps projects. Saddest of all is that the whole project could have been configured so that easement were not necessary or they were easily obtained.

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