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Dune look now: Public and private interests clash on Jersey shore p3

6/17/2014 | Real Estate Blog

We are talking about a legal dispute involving property owners along the New Jersey shore and the state government. The state — and Gov. Chris Christie — has asked the Army Corps of Engineers to build barrier dunes along the coastline. The idea is to protect the businesses and residents in beachfront communities from storm damage. The property owners have resisted the idea for a number of reasons.

One reason relates to what, exactly, the government wants. The state could take the property, but, as we discussed in our last post, the use of eminent domain does not seem to be an option. Rather, the government has requested an easement from each of the owners.

The advantage of an easement is that the owner does not give up ownership of the land. An easement merely gives someone permission to come onto the property for a specific purpose. By granting the easement, the property owner agrees, too, that he will not interfere with the other person’s use of the property.

So, let’s say Sam owns a commercial building in the middle of a block of buildings owned by Jill. Sam’s building has a side door that his employees use, but his building is built right up to the property line. Jill owns the sidewalk between her building and Sam’s. Jill grants Sam an easement for that sidewalk. Sam’s employees may use the side door to come and go, and Jill will not call the police or accuse Sam’s workers of trespassing.

That is not what the government has asked for. We’ll finish this up in our next post.

Source: USA Today, “Jersey Shore dunes fight may be near end. Or is it?” Nicholas Huba (The Asbury Park Press), June 3, 2014