TOMS RIVER, N.J. (CBSNewYork) — Toms River residents want to protect their dunes, despite the town’s efforts to rebuild by stripping homeowners of part of their property.

As WCBS 880’s Jim Smith reported, Frank Pezucci said a private beach owned by the local homeowners’ association is the reason his family has been in Ortley Beach for decades.

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“That’s why we purchased the home in the first place. If I didn’t want that I would have gone to Seaside Heights or Seaside Park or Lavallette,” he said.

But the area was hit hard by Superstorm Sandy, and now Toms River has said in order to rebuild the protective dunes, it wants easements on the private beach. Homeowners have balked.

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“It’s a major catastrophe down here,” Pezucci said. “I kind of feel like Toms River is putting a gun to people’s heads.”

Pezucci said residents already pay plenty in taxes residents, and they should get the dunes out of that money. But Pezucci said the association is considering private financing, which could cost homeowners thousands.

“But it’s worth it, you know, because like I said, we come here for this,” he said.

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