by Joseph Grather/ New Jersey Condemnation Law
The Press of Atlantic City reports that Long Beach Township intends to use eminent domain in its forthcoming beach replenishment cases involving oceanfront properties within its boundaries. However, unlike its neighbor – Harvey Cedars – Long Beach will apparently be seeking to avoid trials in New Jersey Superior Court, where property owners have received just compensation as due under the New Jersey Constitution. The Township hopes to adjudicate its takings cases in federal court.
The article says that Long Beach Township Mayor Joseph Mancini believes that the federal courts will look “more favorably” on the beach replenishment project. Apparently what the Mayor means is that the federal courts may accept the municipality’s argument – already rejected by New Jersey trial and appellate courts – that property owners aren’t entitled to any compensation because the beach replenishment program provides a “special benefit” to those property owners.
Long Beach’s latest efforts makes us wonder why the owners of private beach-front property on Long Beach Island should not be afforded their constitutionally guaranteed right to just compensation for any damages caused by government’s erection of a sand dunes that will block valuable ocean views. New Jersey Courts have expressly recognized that such is a taking for which both the Federal and State Constitutions require payment of just compensation.
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