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Dune Issue In Toms River Continues To Heat Up [AUDIO]

It’s been months since Superstorm Sandy hit the Garden State, and while the rebuilding process gets underway, some are still trying to assess their damage.

Toms River dunes
Toms River dunes (Jason Allentoff, Townsquare Media NJ)

There was a lot of destruction along the shore, especially in areas of Toms River on the barrier island.

There are also several private beaches and neighborhoods that have a chance to take advantage of a U.S. Army Corps Of Engineers Project, but there has been continued controversy over the plan.

Homeowners Worry About Easements

Last week, we told you about a project that would construct an 11-mile stretch of dunes from the Manasquan Inlet all the way down to the Barnegat Inlet. It is a plan that has been met with some worry from land owners.

But, there are also many people who own homes on land they don’t control who want to have the dunes built and are at the mercy of someone else.

The project’s design – which would include the construction of approximately 25-foot-wide dunes, 75-foot-wide berms and 175 acres of dune grass in the project area – has been stalled. Toms River Township needs easements signed for the project, which would allow access.

Some of the land owners fear government intrusion and worry about opening their beach to the public.

Inland homeowners who want the dunes built feel totally powerless. They continue to urge them to change their mind for the good of the community and to protect their property.

Susan Lambairello of Ocean Beach Shores says it’s very frustrating to residents and some of the homeowner association boards alike.

“The land owners aren’t making much sense. If they are concerned about access, they won’t even have a beach to worry about if another storm hits and the dunes aren’t built because they would be flooded out anyway.”

Lambairello is one of the many homeowners who would like to see the easements signed and the project get underway.

“Honestly, the 25-foot wide dunes could be a game changer during the next storm. If the ocean and the bay don’t meet again, we are talking about a different type of scenario altogether. We are hoping something forces this issue, so we don’t have to take any type of legal action. We would prefer not to do that.”

The deadline to get all the easements signed is May 1st. If that date comes and goes with no compromise, it will be up to the homeowners to foot the bill to have storm protections put in place – and that cost could be too much for people to handle.

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NEXT STORY: Christie Not Backing Down on Easements

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