9th District Legislators Senator Christopher J. Connors, Assemblyman Brian E. Rumpf and Assemblywoman DiAnne C. Gove praised Governor Chris Christie for signing an Executive Order that will allow the state to move forward with dune construction projects to protect New Jersey’s coastal communities.
The Governor’s Executive Order directs the State Acting Attorney General to immediately coordinate legal action to acquire the necessary easements to build dunes. Additionally, the Executive Order creates the Office of Flood Hazard Risk Reduction Measures within the New Jersey Department of Environmental Protection (DEP) to lead and coordinate the efforts to acquire the necessary property to build dunes.
The 9th District delegation issued the following joint-statement subsequent to the signing of the Executive Order:
“As legislators who represent a significant portion of the state’s shoreline, including Long Beach Island, Seaside Park and Island Beach State Park, we are elated with the Governor’s decisive and comprehensive action to protect homes and businesses located in coastal communities. This issue hits close to home for many of our constituents as the dune easement case which gained national attention originated in our constituent municipality of Harvey Cedars.
“The Governor has fulfilled his commitment to coastal residents who feel as though they have been held hostage by beach front homeowners who stubbornly held out on signing easement agreements that prevented desperately needed dune replenishment projects from moving forward. Whereas before the protracted easement holdouts were once a source of annoyance, after catastrophic damage caused by Super Storm Sandy, this selfish action is rightfully seen as detrimental to public safety and the common good.
“Overall, the comprehensive provisions of the Governor’s Executive Order better serve our state by reforming deeply flawed beach protection policies as New Jersey continues to rebuild and recover. Dune construction projects are absolutely critical to protecting all that remained and all we have rebuilt along the coastline in the event another Sandy hits our state.”
The 9th District delegation is currently sponsoring companion legislation, S-2618 and A-3896, with the 10th Legislative District to supplement the state’s eminent domain law in order to provide that just compensation for an easement over a portion of beachfront property condemned for the purpose of dune construction or beach replenishment must include consideration of the increase in value to the entire property due to the added safety and property protection provided by the dune or replenished beach. The measures are presently awaiting action by the Environment committees of their respective legislative houses of origin.