The barrier property dispute playing out in New Jersey right now seems to get more complicated with every step forward. We’re still discussing the town of Margate’s efforts to halt the Army Corps of Engineers’ bidding process for the barrier dune/beachfront protection project. The judge denied the stay in January, reasoning that neither party would “suffer irreparable harm” if the corps went forward with the bidding process.
However, she added, the state had to give the town and homeowners 10 days’ notice before breaking ground. And, importantly, the state had to obtain the property through eminent domain, not the executive order that Margate is objecting to.
Just because the judge says it’s OK to move ahead, however, doesn’t mean the corps has to. At the end of February, the corps announced it was canceling the bidding once again; the process will restart when the eminent domain issue is cleared up.
The announcement included some interesting information. According to the Press of Atlantic City, the corps is continuing to work with the state “to finalize the real estate requirements to complete the project.” Does that mean the corps will continue to support the state’s position regarding the executive order, or does it mean that the corps and the state are working through the eminent domain process, as the judge directed? The answer is not immediately clear.
The story has been interesting to follow, and not only because of the legal wrangling. Many of the news stories have had a human interest angle, as expected. These are people’s homes, after all, and the Jersey Shore is still reeling from damage caused by Superstorm Sandy.
Scanning these articles, though, we note an interesting tendency of the media. We’ll explain — and we’ll wrap this up — in our next post.
Press of Atlantic City, “Army Corps cancels bids for Margate dune project,” Christie Rotondo, Feb. 25, 2105
NJ.com, “Beach replenishment delays could be costly for taxpayers,” MaryAnn Spoto, Feb. 20, 2015