How Many in NJ Support Dune Reconstruction Efforts? [AUDIO]
Waterfront homeowners are not as selfish with their view as many previously thought.
A new poll from Monmouth University in partnership with the Jersey Shore Foundation and the Urban Coast Institute finds as many as 8 in 10 shore residents support dunes, even if it means giving up their million dollar views of the water.
A poll of 501 people who live within one mile of the coast in Ocean, Monmouth, Atlantic and Cape May counties shows residents are dramatically in favor of dunes and beach replenishment projects.
Of the 8 in 10 who support building dunes, the survey shows 79 percent live right on the water. Additionally, 76 percent supported beach replenishment, 79 percent were in favor of buying up wetlands and 89 percent wanted stricter building codes.
Poll director Patrick Murray says many residents feel privileged to live at the shore, and are willing to sacrifice for their community.
"I think there was a real recognition there that this is something that is not just for me, 80 percent of them favor putting dunes in front of their house to restrict the view of their ocean because they know it will not only help them but also the entire community."
While those issues garnered near universal support, residents were split on forcing homeowners to sign easements, with 42 percent against while 43 percent were in favor. There was similar derision against state and local government buying up properties, only 41 percent backed the idea.
Murray says policymakers should look at these results and consider what options they are able to present. Additionally, he notes there are issues the public is still unsure about.
"We found a lot of people didn't understand whether they live in a flood zone or not. Lots of people found out too late that they did not have flood insurance, they thought they were covered but they weren't."
Just 22 percent of coastal homeowners had a very good understanding of how the guidelines would affect them.
What some might find shocking is 55 percent were in favor of a tax increase if it would help make the shore more resilient. While that may seem unusual in counties like Ocean and Monmouth, Murray says it's not a shocking development by any means. A survey done years before the storm showed a similar sentiment towards the idea.
"The numbers went up slightly after the storm, but they were so high before the storm. What happened is that Sandy solidified people's views 'No question, we have to do this kind of stuff.'"