Is Governor Christie seeking to bully property owners into giving up rights without just compensation? It is well accepted that beachfront dunes help to protect properties and people from storm damage and injury from events such as Superstorm Sandy. But many property oceanfront property owners have resisted granting those easement rights because of the impact to their views of the ocean and to their property values.
Historically beachfront property owners have been offered little or no money to compensate for their loss, although the law is clear that taking for public purposes such property rights constitutionally requires that the owners be provided just compensation. Recently the Court has determined that the compensation can be considerable. Given that storm protection is a general benefit shared in common with other property owners, including those without beachfront property, the arguments advanced by the state seeking to reduce the compensation to property owners fails and therefore cannot offset compensation due for the taking of the dune easement. If the state is offering just compensation it may well be a shame that property owners are not more concerned for the public good when declining to grant the easements. But if history is any indication, just compensation is not being offered and the Governor is seeking to shame people into giving up their property rights for less than the fair value in violation of the U.S. and New Jersey Constitutions. Here is a link to the article discussing how the Governor may seek to shame unwilling property owners.