Dune Replenishment on the Agenda for Toms River Township Coastal Communities
TOMS RIVER–Toms River Township is allowing oceanfront residents a chance to be included in a federal dune replenishment project. The catch is, residents must have accepted a property easement in order to have dunes built on their properties.
On November 19th, Township Attorney Anthony Merlino sent a letter to all affected property owners regarding the township’s offer to replenish dunes on private property.
By letter dated November 19, 2012, the Township of Toms River announced a project to replenish dunes damaged or destroyed by Hurricane Sandy. Private beach owners were invited to participate in the project by granting the Township a perpetual easement allowing public access between the dune and the Atlantic Ocean.
Private beaches that granted the easement would be included in the replenishment project. The easement is required by law because the Township is constitutionally prohibited from expending public funds to improve privately-owned properties.
The project has been underway for several weeks and is nearing completion, but we have not received your response. This is your final opportunity to have your beach included in the replenishment project. We must receive a fully-executed deed of easement no later than Monday, December 10, 2012; otherwise, your property will be omitted from the project and you will have to replenish your dune at your own expense, which likely will be substantial.
For your convenience, we have enclosed copies of the original letter outlining the program and the deed of easement form which we previously submitted.
You may contact the Township Attorney’s office with any questions or concerns.
That letter was followed by a second notice by Township Engineer Bob Chankalian, prompted by resident inquiries on the project.
The Township has received inquiries from several property owners who privately own oceanfront beaches asking whether the Township will construct a dune system on their property. The Township cannot expend public funds to make improvements on privately owned properties; however, the Township has the legal authority to construct a dune system on private property, at its expense, if the Township receives a perpetual easement granting public access between the dune and the Atlantic Ocean.
Township Engineer Bob Chankalian said that 41,000 yards of sand have already been moved to create temporary dunes in Ortley Beach. This week, the township will be working on finishing the initial dune project.
It is anticipated that the dune replenishment project will commence on November 19th. If you want the Township to construct a dune system on your property, a written easement (to be recorded in the Ocean County Clerk’s Office) must be granted to the Township. The easement is attached for your signature should you decide to participate in this project.Due to the constriction of time, it is requested that you send an e-mail to email@example.com to advise if you wish to join in this project. If the Township does not receive a response, it will be assumed that you intend to privately fund dune construction.
At the last township council meeting, the council said the letters were necessary in order to gain approval from the Army Corps of Engineers to begin the larger project of beach replenishment. ”It’s going to be a first come, first serve and we want to be at the top of the list,” said Council President Mo Hill. “If we can get the easements, we can be first in line.”
On Ocean Terrace, where up to four feet of sand had been washed away in the hardest hit area of the township, Chankalian said sand dredged from the Toms River last week by the Army Corps of Engineers could be relocated to the Ocean Terrace area to be used for replenishment there.
Toms River Township is in the process of rebuilding its dune system on publicly owned beaches and anticipates receiving funding from federal and state sources to assist in this dune replenishment project.
In January, the township will be hosting a dune replenishment seminar, but no date has been set.
A call was made to Mayor Tom Kelaher’s office this afternoon to inquire about how many residents accepted the easements but was not returned.