Storm wall won’t exclude Bay Head from beach replenishment
A group of Bay Head residents chipped in to pay for a protective storm wall currently being built along the northern end, but could be forced into giving up some of their property anyway for a federal beach replenishment project planned for the entire Jersey coast.
Opponents who refuse to sign easements over to the state also feel sand dunes won't be able to endure multiple storms. The 1,500-foot boulder wall that's expected to be completed next month costs $1,700 a foot, according to NJ.com. Residents feel the investment is worth greater storm protection.
Gov. Chris Christie and the Army Corps of Engineers agreed to a comprehensive coastal protection plan that will run include all of the state's beaches and towns, according to Larry Ragonese, spokesman for the New Jersey Department of Environmental Protection.
"They'll re-engineer where necessary, restore where they can, and that's the plan. It includes all the towns in New Jersey and along the coast, and that would include Bay Head,"
Ragonese said. "We intend to build a comprehensive system that protects Bay Head, not just the residents who have some disagreement who live right along the beach there, but also the other people in Bay Head, who live behind them nearby, the neighboring towns."
Ragonese said the Army Corps isn't looking to do an almost complete comprehensive plan, leaving out a town.
"They're doing all of them. That's the goal," he said.
There are some people along the coast who still have some issues they want resolved or they are unhappy with signing over their property easements, according to Ragonese, who said the state has made a great deal of progress.
"We started out needing, for example, 3,000 easements. We have all but about 315 of them. People have voluntarily given up their easements. The mayors and officials up and down the coastline have agreed they want coastal protection," Ragonese said. "But, in the long run, the Governor has made it clear that we'll take whatever actions we need to make sure we incorporation this full protective coastal system."
Ragonese said the state has made extensive efforts to explain to property owners, including those in Bay Head, the intention of the project.
"We're not putting hot dog stands and port-o-johns in their backyards, we're not building boardwalks, we're not putting in amusement piers," he said. "We're trying to make it very clear that all we simply are trying to do is to learn from a recent disastrous storm that hit New Jersey, that we want to make sure that while we have an infusion of federal funding, that we put in a protection coastal system for all of the residents of New Jersey."
The dialogue is open for property owners with specific issues that need to be addressed Ragonese reassured, also noting either the state or the Army Corps, depending on the request, might be able to accommodate someone.