October 4, 2013
The City continues to pursue all of the easements required for beach replenishment and dune building to protect public and private property throughout the island. Of greatest importance in the short term are the remaining easements on properties south of 34th Street. Many owners have provided the easements voluntarily in recognition of the value and protection provided by wide beaches and dune systems.
Regretfully, some property owners have not provided easements for this work. Therefore, I have directed the city solicitor to take the steps necessary to acquire the remaining properties and easements through condemnation proceedings.
I will request the City Council to take action in this regard at their next meeting. Our actions are consistent with the guidance of the Attorney General’s Office, which Governor Christie has appointed to oversee the acquisition of easements throughout the state. The solicitor and the business administrator met in Trenton with the Attorney General’s Office earlier this week to coordinate efforts.
We have dealt with our beachfront property owners in good faith and made every reasonable effort to acquire the remaining easements. I will not allow a few property owners to jeopardize the safety of entire neighborhoods. Nor can we risk any delay in the planned Army Corps’ beach replenishment project in the south end of Ocean City.
The lessons of Hurricane Sandy are not complicated. Those areas that had viable dune systems suffered little or no damage. We support the governor’s efforts to establish such a system along the entire coastline. A handful of property owners are not going to disrupt or delay this project.
On another note, you will notice the LED lighting along Route 52 has been turned to the color pink for the remainder of October. This is in recognition of the City’s support of the breast cancer awareness and fundraising campaigns taking place throughout the country this month.
Have a great weekend.
Jay A. Gillian