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State Securing Easements For Second Phase of Long Branch Beach Replenishment Project

LONG BRANCH: The state is in the process of getting the easements required to start the second phase of city's beach replenishment project.

The Army Corps of Engineers completed the first phase, which stretched from the Monmouth Beach border to Takanssee Beach in June. The second phase will run from the beach just south of Takanassee Beach to Deal Lake in Asbury Park.

City Attorney James Aaron said at the Oct. 14 Long Branch Council meeting that the necessary easements were in place, but that a "ministerial" change required by the New Jersey Department of Environmental Protection will require the easements to be signed again.

"The state of NJ has determined that they do not believe that the easements that were (originally signed) are not in recordable form, and they want them in recordable form so they are preparing new easements with different witness clauses," Aaron said.

The city introduced an ordinance during the Oct. 14 meeting that will allow the state to begin the process of getting the revised signed easements.

"The state will pick up costs and deal with property owners to sign the amended easements," Aaron said. "There are alternate ways they can get them, but the state has sought fit to require the city to introduce this ordinance."

The ordinance states that eminent domain can be used to get the easements, but Aaron said he does not expect it to be used.

"Will there be eminent domain used here, the answer is no," Aaron said. "These deeds will be executed by the property owners, but to keep this project online and on time for constructed. It's ministerial in nature, it's not going to end up in an eminent domain procedure."

He said he expects all the property owners who previously signed to do the same with the revised easements.

Once all the easement are signed, it would mark the first time the stretch of beach in the second phase has been replenished.

The contract for the second phase of the beach replenishment project is expected to be awarded later this month or November and work is expected to begin shortly thereafter.

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