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Gov: Easement holdouts put NJ at risk

The Garden State dodged a bullet when Hurricane Arthur only grazed the state last weekend, but Gov. Chris Christie believes New Jersey is still vulnerable if another storm hits.

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Toms River dunes
Toms River dunes (Townsquare Media NJ)

Speaking in Keansburg Monday, Christie blamed this weakness on over 600 holdouts who have not yet signed easements for a federal dune replenishment project done by the Army Corps of Engineers.

As he has done in the past, the governor called the holdouts “selfish” and said the state will continue with legal action against the homeowners.

“It’s basically the northern Ocean (County) section where we have one problem, with Point Pleasant Beach and Bay Head,” Christie said. “We have a situation with Loveladies on Long Beach Island. Margate has been an issue as well.”

A jury decision awarded a Harvey Cedars couple only $300 in compensation after they sued for hundreds of thousands of dollars, claiming dunes were obstructing their beach view and diminishing the property value of their home.

“The fact is, these folks who are sitting and waiting for some big payday to sign on the dotted line, I’ve told them for two years now — they’re not getting it,” the governor said.

Christie believes the dune system can be restored by the end of summer 2015.

“You see the beaches up and down the state are significantly wider than they were immediately post-Sandy, that’s the first step,” he said. “I think this fall, you’ll see dune building happening in a number of the sections of the project.”

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