Dune Holdouts Addressed by Christie [POLL/AUDIO]
Hundreds of beachfront homeowners are still refusing to grant permission for a system of dunes to be built along their property, a project the governor says will help protect New Jersey's coastline during future storms.
Gov. Chris Christie offered a timeline of the dune work during his Tuesday town hall in Belmar, noting a protective system will eventually be in place "from Cape May to the bayshore."
"I think that we'll have a good number of dune systems done by the summer of 2015," Christie told the crowd. "There will still be some that'll need to be done in the fall of '15 and then be done in '16."
Replenishment work has begun in spots where dunes were already built. A post-Sandy survey of Jersey's coastline found significantly less damage to homes and streets in towns equipped with sand dunes.
Mayors have urged Christie's administration to avoid dune work during the summer months so tourists can enjoy their shore visits.
"We'll get whatever we can get done before the summer season starts, and then we'll start back again after the summer season is over," Christie said.
The governor noted the only impediment to the federally-funded project is a struggle to procure easements from approximately 600 oceanfront homeowners. Hesitant property owners have expressed concerns about diminished views and construction work that goes beyond dunes.
"I'm not building hot dog stands everybody. I'm not building cabanas or public bathrooms," Christie said. "That would be contrary to what we're trying to accomplish."
Christie said legal action will be taken against any homeowner who doesn't voluntarily sign an easement.