NJ Supreme Court Harvey Cedars Dune Ruling Due Monday
New Jersey's Supreme Court justices this Monday expect to rule on a legal battle between a Harvey Cedars couple and borough officials. The outcome might determine the direction and scope of beach replenishment projects on the norther barrier peninsula, and elsewhere on the Jersey coast, by the Army Corps of Engineers.
Harvey and Phyllis Karan were awarded $375,000 after taking the borough to court over the conditions under which the Corps build a 22-foot-high dune and 125-foot berm between the ocean and their beachfront. summer home in 2010.
The construction was part of a $26,000,000 project along their portion of beach on LBI.
After the couple rejected requests to approve easements that would have given the Corps ongoing access for construction and periodic maintenance, the borough used its power of eminent domain.
An expert for the Karans in the 2010 heraing argued that the diminished view of the sea resulting from the dune devalued their home by about $500,000, to about $1,400,000. An expert testifying for the borough countered that the project works to the couple's benefit, and suggested an award of $300.
The cash award was the result of negotations between the Karans and borough officials, and was upheld on appeal. Harvey Cedars officials opted to petition the high court.
Toms River Mayor Thomas Kelaher is among those awaiting the ruling before embarking on eminent-domain proceedings against beachfront property owners who have spurned the easements, many over protests by people who occupy homes on their tracts.
The township has secured agreements in just over half of the 32 documents they need for complete coverage in the Corps' planned 11-mile dune and beach project from the tip of Manasquan Inlet to the tip of Barnegat Inlet.
The Asbury Park Press contributed to this story.