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Eminent Domain Suits Aim To Get Easements For New Dune Protection System Down Shore

By David Madden

MARGATE, N.J. (CBS) - The Christie Administration has threatened for months to take shore homeowners to court if they did not grant easements for formation of a statewide network of dunes to protect against the next major storm.

On Thursday, they made good on that threat.

Eminent domain actions were filed against the owners of two homes -- one in Ship Bottom, the other in Ocean City. They just won't budge, according to Larry Hajna with the Department of Environmental Protection, and the state can wait no longer:

"We have 90% of the easements necessary to build this system of dunes and beaches. However, we have this group of 388 or so property owners who just refuse to see the light."

Most are in northern Ocean County, "but there are eleven private easements that are still needed in Margate and we are currently working on an appraisal process for those easements," Hajna says.

The state wants to begin work those new dunes before the end of the year.

Hajna says talks continue with them in hopes of avoiding court action.

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