New Jersey Beach Replenishment: Town Seeks End Around In Federal Court

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by Joseph Grather / New Jersey Condemnation Law 

In follow-up to our blog posting of May 8, 2012 (LBI Town Forum Shopping to Avoid Paying Just Compensation?):

Long Beach Township is continuing in its attempts to adjudicate their beach-front property acquisitions into federal court.  According to a recent report from APP.com, the township seeks to adjudicate the takings cases in federal court because “federal courts recognize special benefits such as work related to the beach improvements when issuing their awards while state courts do not.”

In plain english, Long Beach Township hopes that the federal courts will deny property owners in Long Beach Township just compensation by ruling that the beach replenishment project creates a “special benefit” to an individual property owner thereby precluding the property owner for being paid just compensation for the reduction in value of its property caused by the taking.  However, the project is designed to benefit the entire beach-going public, thus by its very purpose one that provides a “general benefit” and thereby no denial of just compensation to the individual property owner whose property is taken by government for the public good.

That is exactly what the State Superior Court found in the Karan case in neighboring Harvey Cedars.  However, the New Jersey Supreme Court agreed to hear that case.  We’ll keep you posted on the outcome of that case.

Long Beach Township asked for NJDEP to advise whether it would object to the Township proceeding through the federal courts.  NJDEP wrote to Long Beach, stating: “If you proceed in this manner, the state recommends that the USACE (U.S. Army Corps of Engineers) initially condemn only one property.”  According to the APP, Long Beach Township Mayor Mancini “is happy [DEP] finally approved it.”

We’ll see if the federal court agrees to second-guess the State Courts in these matters.

Originally published by New Jersey Condemnation Law; republished with permission


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