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Shore Protection Project Easements FAQs

Frequently Asked Questions

What is an engineered beach and dune system?

An engineered beach and dune system provides coastline protection based on engineering calculations following extensive study by the U.S. Army Corp of Engineers. These calculations establish the appropriate width and slope of beaches and the size of dunes (where necessary) to protect New Jersey’s shoreline.

Why is an engineered beach and dune in front of my property so important?

Engineered beach and dune systems are designed to provide protection from flood and wave damage from storms. Studies, including assessments done following Superstorm Sandy, have demonstrated the effectiveness of these systems in protecting against storm damage. Engineered beaches can serve a critical function in protecting homes and businesses along New Jersey’s shoreline in the face of nor’easters and other extreme weather events. Although the front line of houses and buildings will enjoy a direct and special benefit from an engineered beach and dune system, entire towns will be more resilient and will be better able to withstand the next storm for having the easements granted.

Why does the municipality and State want my easement?

Because beaches and dunes must be built in specific locations in order to provide an appropriate level of protection, in many instances this requires placing sand or dunes on private property that is not occupied by private structures or improvements. The easement gives permission to build the beach and dune on private property. Easements provide the access required by the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers and are critical to allow these projects to proceed expeditiously.

How does the easement affect my property rights?

An easement is a right of use over a limited and specifically defined area of property. This right of use would allow the engineered beach and dune system to be built on the property, for the engineered beach and dune system to be maintained, and to allow the public to use the beach in a reasonable and lawful manner.

What portion of my property is subject to an easement?

The easement will specifically describe the portion of the property where an engineered beach and dune system may be placed.

Does the easement grant the municipality or the State the right to build a boardwalk or a bathroom on my property?

No. The proposed easement permits the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers to build approved projects related to the engineered beach and dune system. The easements being sought by local officials have been limited and will not allow construction beyond the clearly defined scope of the project. It will not allow boardwalks, bathrooms, or other similar structures to be built on private property.

Does the easement grant the municipality or the State the right to build a public walkway across my property?

The easement is for the placement of sand and sand dunes on private property. There may be public street ends that meet the beach and the public must be given a way to cross over an easement area, in order to get to the beach; these crossovers, however, will be limited to those public street ends.

Will the public have the right to use the beach on my property?

Yes. The Army Corps requires that public use and access on beaches be provided as a condition of spending public money on a beach and dune construction project. This means that the public will be able to walk on and use the beach on which the easement has been placed in a reasonable and lawful way. It does not, however, turn the beach into a municipal beach that is controlled by government. It still remains private property. In addition, the public will not be permitted to use any portion of the property beyond that set forth in the easement.

Will I have to buy a beach tag to use my beach?

No. The beach subject to the easement remains private property and is not controlled by the municipality. Thus, they cannot charge you, or anyone else, for the use of that beach.

Will I retain the right to enjoy my property?

Yes. The easement only authorizes the Army Corps to place sand and dunes on the property and allows the public to use the beach. It does not prevent you from using your property. It remains privately-owned property.

Are my rights spelled out in the easement document?

Yes. The easement spells out the property owner’s rights, including, the right to construct a private dune overwalk structure in accordance with applicable law and the right to continued ownership of the property subject to the terms of the easement.

Will I have additional liability if anyone gets hurt on my property?

No. An owner of property does not assume additional liability by granting an easement to another person or entity. Further, the Landowners Liability Act provides additional immunity for injuries resulting from recreational activities on the property under most circumstances relative to a beach replenishment project.

How can I access the beach from my property if a dune is constructed behind my home?

As mentioned above, the easement grants the property owner the right to construct a private dune overwalk structure in accordance with applicable law.

Published May23, 2013 | Announcements | 1603

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