Toms River Mayor Thomas F. Kelaher and Council President George Wittmann sign the ordinance for Eminent Domain proceedings at the 3rd Avenue boardwalk in Ortley Beach on October 28, 2013. (Photo: Debbi Winogracki)
At the newly rebuilt boardwalk in Ortley Beach, Toms River officials held a press conference to mark the one year anniversary of Superstorm Sandy and focus on the progress made over the last 12 months.
Among the highlights of the event was the signing of the Ordinance for Eminent Domain, which would pave the way for the Township to obtain the easements required for the Army Corps of Engineers’ dune and beach replenishment project. “This is a major hurdle in getting all of the necessary easements from private homeowners who have refused to sign onto the dune rebuilding project,” Toms River Mayor Tom Kelaher said. “We have 15 out of the 40 easements still unsigned, and we were hoping with the passing of this ordinance that maybe some of the holdouts would see the writing on the wall and come in, but if they don’t, we’re not going to wait for them to build the dunes.”
The Federally-funded Army Corps of Engineers dune and beach replenishment project will begin in northern Ocean County in June of 2014. Councilman George Wittmann explained, “The Army Corps will build out 150 feet of dunes from the edge of the boardwalk, and then another 100 feet of beach that will be extended into the ocean.” Toms River is currently beefing up the oceanfront with 20-foot high sand dunes. Officials say the temporary dunes held up very well during a recent nor’easter.
This is encouraging news not only for homeowners trying to rebuild, but also for landlords and visitors who had hoped and expected that the beach area would be back next year. Kelaher added, “Based on the number of demo and new home permits obtained in Town Hall, we expect a big summer crowd in 2014.”