Public Access Stalling Toms River Dune Replenishment [AUDIO]
Toms River's dune replenishment project is nearing completion for public beaches; however the Township is having trouble getting easements from private beachfront property owners to do restoration.
The easements need to be signed in order for Toms River to use public funds for work on private residences as well as for future replenishment projects by the Army Corps of Engineers, but numerous residents have expressed concern because the easement grants "perpetual easement for public access"-which requires the private beaches to allow public access.
Toms River Administrator Paul Schives says it's a requirement of the Army Corps of Engineers and the Township has no ability to change that.
"[the Army Corps of Engineers] will not undertake a project that does not have public access to the beach area that won't."
Schives says it's a requirement that other municipalities had to agree on in order to receive aid from the Army Corps of Engineers.
"For the federal government to make what is a major investment in replenishing the dunes and replenishing the beach areas that is a requirement."
Three rounds of letter have already been sent to homeowners but Schives says twenty five property owners still need to sign the easements. He notes the township will try and meet with each of the homeowners/HoA individually, but will hold an open meeting for questions if need be.
"For the Army Corps of Engineers to undertake the project it's got to be an all or nothing situation."
Schives says time is of the essence since they want to have the dunes built before the winter nor'easters start hitting the state.