Thursday, July 24, 2014

How Much is a Sand Dune Easement Worth?

The property owners thought a few hundred thousand dollars.  A jury awarded them $300:

A jury has awarded a Harvey Cedars couple just $300 as compensation for the borough's taking of land needed to build a sand dune and berm to protect against damage from storms such as Hurricane Sandy, state officials said today.

The ruling, made Friday by a panel in state Superior Court in Ocean County, paled in comparison to the $200,000 Victor and Carolyn Groisser sought for their land, in addition to $600,000 they sought in damages, the Attorney General's Office said.

The case was remanded for a new trial after the state Supreme Court ruled last year that property owners were not entitled to "a windfall" or "a payout that disregards the home’s enhanced value resulting from a public project," such as sand dunes.

The court held that such a value must be factored into the fair compensation equation.

"This jury's decision supports the state's position that protecting homes and entire communities is more important than individual ocean views," Bob Martin, commissioner of the state Department of Environmental Protection, said in a statement.

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