Long Beach Township Mayor: 'We're Coming Up On A Timeline'

LONG BEACH TOWNSHIP, N.J. (CBSNewYork/AP) – The pressure is building on Jersey Shore homeowners still holding out on signing off on a project to build protective dunes.

In Long Beach Township, the Army Corps of Engineers is waiting on 60 of the 465 oceanfront property owners to give their blessing to the project.

The holdouts are resisting the project for two reasons, said Long Beach Township Mayor Joseph Mancini.

First, Mancini told WCBS 880’s Levon Putney, the homeowners fear the dunes will block their ocean views from the first floor of their homes.

Some homeowners also want compensation for allowing the easement on their property.

“How am I going to condemn somebody and pay them money when these other good neighbors didn’t ask for that?” Mancini told Putney. “I’m not one for eminent domain. How do I pay somebody money when everybody else did it for the good of the community?”

He says that would be opposite of who you would want to reward.

Mancini also said the notion that the higher dunes will lower property values is false.

“Any oceanfront that was built behind the engineered dune system has a higher value,” Mancini told Putney. “Bottom line, if you lose your view from the first floor, go up to the second floor. You’ll have a nice view up there.”

The names of the 60 holdouts are posted on the town’s website. Mancini said he hopes by publicizing the names, their neighbors will try to talk them into agreeing to the plan.

Otherwise, Mancini said the state could step in with pressure.

“We’re coming up on a timeline,” the mayor noted.

Speaking in late March, Gov. Chris Christie had harsh words for those opposed to the protective dunes, calling them “selfish.” His brash talk continued this week.

The governor used an expletive Tuesday during a town hall meeting on Long Beach Island, where Sandy caused heavy damage.

He calls the opposition BS, though he used the full word.

Christie was referring to the expressed fears of some dune opponents that boardwalks, bathrooms or amusement rides would be built near their beachfront properties.

The Republican governor says he soon will “call out” stubborn homeowners by name if they continue to refuse to sign easements permitting a beach replenishment project with dunes.

The federal government Monday approved the state’s plan to spend $1.83 billion to help homeowners and businesses get back on their feet.

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