The Toms River Township Council passed the eminent domain ordinance with no public comment on Tuesday night.

Hurricane Sandy damage on the barrier islands
Hurricane Sandy damage on the barrier islands (Governor's Office, Tim Larsen)

The township will move forward with plans to go after 16 oceanfront property owners still refusing to sign easements for the Army Corps dune project and take legal action against the oceanfront property owners to allow a federally-funded protective dune project to move forward.

Council President George Wittman says "We have given our beachfront property owners every reasonable offer at granting easements and have dealt with them in good faith. This paves the way for us to use eminent domain to acquire the land needed for the dune work in our Town. We cannot allow a few homeowners to get in the way of such an important project."

The Army Corps of Engineers dune project is slated for June, 2014. In all, Toms River needed 40 easements for the dunes to be built. The 16 holdouts are on the barrier island.

Dianne DeOliveria contributed to this report

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