After many New Jersey Shore towns were damaged by Superstorm Sandy, the state is eyeing private land to set a chain of protective coastal dunes, but property owners aren't giving in without a fight, The Wall Street Journal reported Thursday.
The state had asked for around 2,000 owners to sign easements, but almost 800 refused to do so. Now, town officials, supported by the administration of Gov. Chris Christie, are sending out letters to owners signaling that the government is ready to seize the land, according to the newspaper.
Christie recently signed an executive order allowing towns "to commandeer ...any privately owned property" needed to minimize the risk of coastal flooding, the Journal said.
Christie's chief counsel, Christopher Porrino, told the newspaper "it is really a last resort."
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"I can't get past the point the government wants to take my property," Arlene "Barrie" Callahan, a homeowner in Long Beach Township, told the Journal.
Long Beach Township Mayor Joseph Mancini said that appraisers have visited most of the property owners who didn't sign the easement, the newspaper said.
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"Everybody knows the dunes are coming. Period. End of story," he told the newspaper. "You can be a good neighbor, get in line. Or you can fight it."