Deadline For Signed Easements in Toms River [AUDIO]
Today is the deadline for beach front property owners in Toms River to turn in signed easements for a massive Army Corp dune building and beach replenishment project. Township Mayor Tom Keleher says he'll continue to seek easements from willing signers but at the same time, engineers and real estate appraisers will be working on monetary figures to give to holdouts for eminent domain proceedings.
"And if they don't accept it, the law provides that we deposit that money with the Clerk of the Superior Court. We can then go on the property and use it," said Keleher.
Hold out property owners shouldn't expect a windfall either, according to Keleher. He said it's going to be a nominal amount. "Our engineers are doing Metes and Bounds descriptions of the property we need to satisfy the Army Corps of Engineers and the DEP (Department of Environmental Protection) and when they get that exact square footage prepared, our real estate appraisers will then come up with a figure and we'll offer that figure to the holdouts."
Keleher said following the overturning of a Harvey Cedars dune case, they don't fear the risk of getting hit with large judgments. He said property owners who dispute the offers can take them to court at a future date but they'll be proceeding with the beach protection project anyway.
"Where you see this most common is when you have to widen a highway or put a cross street or a jughandle or something and they need the property and they can say 'look, we'll offer you this amount, you don't take it okay, we're sorry, we're going to deposit that in court, we're taking the property as of the time of the deposit and if you think we low-balled you on it we'll have a trial later and figure it out. If you win, you win," said Keleher.
He said no additional property owners have turned in signed easements since they announced the July 31st deadline but he says one group of homeowners has asked the Township for a meeting.
Brick Township also set an August 1 deadline to receive easements from holdouts.