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Brick, Mantoloking Working on Easements, Pushing for Dune Projects

After Sandy, officials say, need for dune renourishment is greater than ever

Officials in Brick Township and Mantoloking Borough are both hoping their residents sign easements allowing for an Army Corps of Engineers dune project that will shore up the oceanfront and, hopefully, prevent breaches like the one that occurred near the Mantoloking Bridge during Superstorm Sandy.

That breach, which led to a 20 foot-deep inlet forming between the ocean and the base of the county-owned bridge across Barnegat Bay, is largely blamed for the resulting floods in mainland neighborhoods such as Shore Acres and Baywood in Brick Township.

A plan to greatly widen ocean beaches and erect high dunes – similar to those in Long Beach Island, which withstood the wrath of Sandy – between Manasquan Inlet and South Seaside Park has been in place for about a decade, though it could never be put into action due to a lack of easements signed by oceanfront residents.

Those easements allow the Army Corps of Engineers and its contractor to build up dunes and renourish them every seven years after the initial project, however homeowners have been reluctant to sign them. Some homeowners say the very dunes that would protect their homes – and the homes of their neighbors – would destroy their view of the ocean and lower their home's property value. Others are afraid that the easement could be used as license in a future project to build a boardwalk or bathrooms in their backyards.

Not true, officials say.

"I can guarantee we will not be building a boardwalk in front of anyone's house," said Brick Mayor Stephen C. Acropolis. "We like what we have, and we just want to make things safer."

The same assurances have been given to Mantoloking residents, said Chris Nelson, the borough's special counsel for the Sandy cleanup effort there.

In Mantoloking, oceanfront homeowners have been given a revised easement form that contains language that states the land given up by the property owner will only be used in the federal dune replenishment project.

The width of the beach, according to Army Corps of Engineers documents, shows the beaches between Manasquan and Barnegat inlets will grow in length to the point where the current dune will end where the ocean water line begins today. In some cases, the 167-foot-wide dunes will be larger than the entire beachfront area they are replacing.

"When you stand on the new 22-foot dune that the Army Corps of Engineers is going to put in, it's going to take 350 steps to get to the sand," said Nelson. "If you're thinking of going into business, try making flip flops, because it's going to be hot out there."

In the small borough of Mantoloking alone, the federal plan calls for 2 million cubic yards of sand to be deposited on the beach and dunes.

The plan would be essentially identical for Brick Township's 3.5 miles of oceanfront.

In the Long Beach Island project, the dune project included a great amount of dune grass to hold the sand in place, and fencing to protect the dunes themselves.

While Mantoloking contends with a host of individual homeowners, Brick officials are trying to convince a number of homeowners associations to sign the easements which will allow the project to span the entire length of the town, including beaches where there is private access only.

Brick officials have been in contact with the associations and oceanfront homeowners, and have made progress, the mayor said.

"Things seem to be going very well," said Acropolis.

Nelson said federal officials have been open to replenishing beaches in one individual town if another local community does not get enough signatures to make a project worth it.

In the wake of the thrashing from Sandy endured by local beaches, plus the risk to non-oceanfront homeowners that comes from an inadequate dune system, the need for replenishment is greater than ever, and a refusal to sign an easement could be met with consequences.

"If we don't get all the easements in, we will do what's best for the community and expand legal options," said Nelson. "I sincerely hope it does not come down to that."

Acropolis has also alluded to potential legal action if homeowners do not sign the easements: a potential class action lawsuit brought by mainland homeowners whose properties could be at risk if the barrier beaches are not rebuilt.

re-tired February 11, 2013 at 11:29 PM
Simple solution just zone all this property for commercial development ,since the property is so valuable let commercial interests build higher stronger condos ,hotels or even casinos .Get all the private interests bought out in this critical zone and adhere to strict codes. This is the only economic solution to the patch work dunes now in place. This would protect the mainland far better than private interests and those "special " towns along the barrier islands .
Michael February 11, 2013 at 11:50 PM
Keith, I think you miss my point. You have no idea if I signed the easement the first time around several years ago. I could have signed it 10 times and everyone in Mantoloking could have but since Bay Head and other towns south REFUSED to even consider it the Army Corp wouldn't have done the project. No big ego, just the truth. Blame Bay Head. At least Mantoloking tried and considered it. BTW, if I had a front porch I'd be willing to "look at the suffering" but you see, my house is GONE. Ego? I don't think so. Heart broken...yes.
Vincent Pischettola February 12, 2013 at 04:09 AM
https://petitions.whitehouse.gov/petition/reevaluate-new-fema-advisory-base-flood-elevation-maps-help-us-rebuild-not-shore-not-push-us-out/tZYxj3V5 Save the shore sign this and help stop FEMA
KC February 12, 2013 at 05:45 AM
Nobody seems to have their story straight. If Mother Nature continues to have her way none of this is going to matter anyway.
JHill February 12, 2013 at 12:54 PM
That is the plan. There are lots of investors looking to snatch up land on the cheap right now and a lot of them are doing it. You think they are going to rebuild a beach house and make $200,000 dollars or build condos and make $5,000,000 dollars? The towns are going to approve all of these because they will need the revenue.
Betty Ann February 12, 2013 at 12:55 PM
Why is Bay Head not signing, or are they going to sign? Wait, I thought they didn't own their beaches, per a previous lawsuit several years ago by a beach goer who sued BH because they were told to leave the beach because they had no badge, and were below the MHW line. Can't the Army Corps of Engineers do it anyway if this was the case back then?
Laura February 12, 2013 at 01:39 PM
The Bay Head Improvement Association owns the land to the high water mark, I believe.
Quaghogdigger February 12, 2013 at 01:55 PM
I believe the beach in Bay Head is owned by the town, and run by the Bay head improvement assoc. (BHIA). If you read the article, the army corp is proposing a 167 foot wide dune. That is probably wider than the existing, even pre-storm, beach is now. So envision walking up the street end, up the stairs, taking a sand path across the wide dune, which remember will be covered with dune grass, except access walks, and down to the newly pumped in sand beach. Now the problem is, this new level beach area will be gone in short order and normal tides will be lapping at the base of the dune, effectively removing any usable beach for beach badge sales, which I'm sure in Bay head is a big $ item. I would think the homeowners would WANT this seclusion from the beach goers.
Lori Morrison February 12, 2013 at 03:30 PM
Ships27, Look at the area where the ocean breached. How many homes are left standing? There is one because it was built to withstand hurricanes. If the houses provided an impediment to the water then can the person who lost their home sue the neighbor whose house is on top of theirs? There are 58 homes that are missing. Will the homeowners be charged for dredging costs? If their cars are found then they can put a claim in to insurance. It should not matter whether you live on the barrier island or the mainland, we all have a responsibility to help protect our communities.
jack cee February 12, 2013 at 06:08 PM
You can buy a beach badge for any of the private beaches in Brick.We pay 1100 a year to maintain,insure and pay for lifeguards for our private beach.Its only private to the point were you are not using it for free which is probably what you want.
jack cee February 12, 2013 at 09:58 PM
They call it the million dollar view.Can you imagine how much the rest of us will be paying in property tax if all the ocean front homes go down 1 million in value?????
PPB1996 February 12, 2013 at 10:11 PM
test
Betty Ann February 15, 2013 at 12:34 AM
@ Jack Cee: Your comment, "You can buy a beach badge for ANY of the private beaches in Brick.We pay 1100 a year to maintain,insure and pay for lifeguards for our private beach.Its only private to the point were you are not using it for free which is probably what you want." is not correct. There are private associations on the barrier Island that do not use beach badges.
mineeeemoh February 15, 2013 at 02:13 PM
You forgot to mention how disgusting the port a potties are.
J.JONES February 17, 2013 at 05:45 PM
Why wouldn't anyone what to stop putting in protection from this to ever happen again...We don't know if it would but why take the chance to have this damage and hardship to anyone in the future..Its sad they suffered this much this time..
proud February 17, 2013 at 08:25 PM
A pig by any other name is still a pig.
jack cee February 17, 2013 at 08:55 PM
Enlighten me....You have to by state law offer use of your beach to the public for a fee. Ask an officer in your association.I know what I'm talking about.
mineeeemoh February 18, 2013 at 12:40 AM
Llipstick?
proudnot2bliberal February 18, 2013 at 10:07 PM
for all the whiners out there basking in the glory of the homes in Mantoloking destroyed I pose a few questions for you (most of you will have to T-H-I-N-K many it will be a 1st) 1) the ONLY place there has been any proof of dune removal is in Ortley beach area 2) if "we" (collectively) DO NOT rebuild the beaches on the island the Island will disappear (just take a trip to Cape May WW2 Gun battery http://www.lostinjersey.com/military/capemaybunker.html Originally built 900 feet from the shoreline, 60 years of rising tides and erosion have now brought the ocean to the bunker. T-H-I-N-K of what would happen to your inland house if we didnt rebuild the dunes you would now have ocean front property & then the whiners would be complaining about you. 3) Brick & TR are looking at a substantial tax shortage from these destroyed homes. See no big home on shore (many have been in families for decades) no taxes IE: NO obomie bucks on your EBT (food stamp card) or no money for the senior center bus trip rec-hall & pool. 4th I dont know if any of you whiners have been out on 35 but its a very very sad site empty lots driveways to nowhere empty foundations all of the 100's of homes washed away, then there are the others with big "X" on them slated for demo & a few that survived but sustained severe damage Youve to be a cold heartless person not to be chocked up by this. BUT when you live off the backs of working people collecting swellfare & guberment handouts what do you care
A Resident February 19, 2013 at 02:56 AM
1) Have no idea, so I'll give you that one. 2) Funny thing is....those beaches were there before there were any houses/structures at all....Mother Nature built them. She will do what she wants with them regardless of human intervention. She adds sand, she takes sand away. She will win. 3) Yes, they may face a substantial tax shortage....or they may raise the taxes of "inland" properties to make up the difference.....your guess as to which way they go. 4) I drive 35 pretty often. I also tend to get up north of here and see some areas just as bad. Mantoloking and Ortley Beach are not the centers of the world....get over yourselves.
sophie123 February 19, 2013 at 08:25 PM
As a Brick barrier island resident and also a board association member, I take issue with Mayor Acropolis's statement that ocean front owners and associations have been contacted concerning easements granting access to replenish the beach and dunes. We have heard NOTHING from Brick. It's almost March.
Betty Ann February 19, 2013 at 10:16 PM
I can tell you there are places on the island with private beach associations, that do not use badges.
Betty Ann February 19, 2013 at 10:26 PM
Sophie, it is my understanding that all association president's have been notified. Has your president notified notified his/her entire board?
mineeeemoh February 20, 2013 at 05:28 AM
In dealing with the aftermath of the wrath of that storm, do you really think something as trivial as a badge is warranted in any discussion now? Maybe bankruptcy is called for. It seems to solve so many issues. Hey it may even get you elected? Aint that right Mayor?
Frustrated Taxpayer February 22, 2013 at 05:00 AM
Sadly parts of Mantoloking and Bayhead have always had problems with storms . Because the barrier island is so narrow between the bay and the ocean, nothing would have saved the island from the devastation. Conditions were just too perfect . I have noticed that sand has been bulldozed onto people's properties. Some have dunes five ft from their front doors. Who is responsible for getting these properties back in order ? The people on the barrier island are paying $$$$ for taxes that take care of the people on the mainland and the schools. The value of my house is only $250,000. My taxes are over $30,000. We get no services; [I can pay for my own trash pick up in the summer] , we have no voting rights. I think I was taught in history class that is called.."Taxation Without Representation." I want the barrier island disconnected from Brick Township. Let us connect with Mantoloking Borough or Lavalette. I think they would welcome our taxes and support. Free us please, Mr. Mayor. I'll even pay for the bulldozing to get our properties back in order with the money I am saving from the huge taxes. Oh, and our taxes went up 100% IN ONE YEAR. Brick pulled that fast one off right before Gov. Christie put the 2% increase cap on NJ home taxes when he came into office. Property values will shrink now....and I hope those who got so greedy with the huge taxes will come to their senses and bring them back to what they once were.
Frustrated Taxpayer February 22, 2013 at 01:12 PM
Another question...wasn't the bay at fault for the surge also. Are we going to build dunes there too? Or are we letting mother nature slide on that one??? Truth is Mother nature will do what she wants to do.
A Resident February 22, 2013 at 02:29 PM
Frustrated Taxpayer, I'd love to know where you live that you are paying over $30,000 in taxes on a $250,000 valued assessment. (unless you are leaving out the assessed value of your land) And no, the bay was not at fault. No water at all ever came in to the bay through the Manasquan inlet nor the Barnegat inlet. It all came from the opening in Mantoloking. (if you ignore facts)
Frustrated Taxpayer February 22, 2013 at 02:56 PM
Of course the land value was not added into the property value, but trust me...my house.+..my land does not warrant me to pay $30,000 in property taxes.....when I get nothing from Brick. Just a few years ago I was paying $14,000.I know I am not alone in wanting fair taxes for my land and property.
Betty Ann February 26, 2013 at 02:08 PM
Not sure where youve been over the past 10 years but we can never succeed to mantoloking. Read their charter. And you are surely not the only homeowner paying 30k+ in taxes on the island. Please reach out to the FOBA or ron ivanecki for historical facts.
proud May 06, 2013 at 10:03 PM
@PPNB, there was an interesting article on revetments close to home this morning: http://www.app.com/proart/20130505/njnews/305050091/rocks-under-sand-could-protection-from-storm?pagerestricted=1

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