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Eminent Domain Ordinance Advances in Toms River [AUDIO]

An ordinance to allocate $3,784,800 to pay for the cost associated with eminent domain of beach front properties in Toms River has a to a final reading.

Ortley Beach, NJ
Residents of Ortley Beach, NJ watch their home get demolished (Mark Wilson, Getty Images)

“The ordinance they passed for eminent domain will allow them to set aside funds for the legal cost, engineering cost, any type of court cost associated with the process for eminent domain,” Council President George Wittman said.

He added that the ordinance also allows them to set aside some money for the payment of easements to hold out beachfront property owners, but he would not say how much they would be offering to them.

Toms River Mayor Thomas Keleher has previously stated that any eminent domain compensation would be nominal. Wittman said they’re still hopeful they’ll be able to negotiate with property owners prior to having to use eminent domain proceedings.

Council members are using money from an existing Superstorm Sandy bond ordinance, according to Wittman. They will re-purpose that ordinance for eminent domain.

Toms River has easements to all, but 16 properties, that would allow the U.S. Army Corp of Engineers to begin its dune replenishment project in March.

A number of beaches along the northern barrier Island are under the governance of Toms River Township. While of those beaches and nearby infrastructure sustained significant damage following Hurricane Sandy, Ortley Beach was considered ground zero.

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