New Jersey homeowner gets $380K in dune compensation case

This May 21, 2019 photo shows a man walking on the widened beach in Brick Township, N.J. On Sept. 26, 2019, a jury awarded a Brick man $380,000 as compensation for the loss of part of his beachfront property for the storm protection project. (AP Phot

BRICK, N.J. (AP) — A New Jersey homeowner has been awarded $380,000 for the taking of part of his beach for a storm protection project.

In a trial that ended Thursday, Kevin Klingert was awarded the money for the loss of about half his oceanfront property in Brick Township.

Attorney Anthony Della Pelle says about 75 similar cases remain pending in Ocean County from homeowners challenging compensation offered by the state. He said New Jersey had offered Klingert $750.

"They took approximately half the property to build a 22-foot dune, but the property had existing dunes, created by the owner, that were 19 and a half feet high already," Della Pelle said.

He said Klingert's house did not suffer damage during Superstorm Sandy, even as houses near it were destroyed.

State officials did not immediately respond to requests for comment.

The question of how much the state should pay for land it seizes to make way for dunes has been bitterly fought in New Jersey.

The state Supreme Court ruled in 2013 that the protective value of dunes should be considered when juries weigh the loss of beachfront and ocean views. In a case from Harvey Cedars on Long Beach Island, an elderly couple was awarded $375,000 for the loss of ocean views resulting from the dune project, but after the court ruling, accepted $1 as a settlement.

Then-Gov. Chris Christie pushed for dunes along almost all of the state's 127-mile shoreline, and confronted pockets of resistance in communities including Bay Head, Point Pleasant Beach, Mantoloking, Margate and on Long Beach Island.

The sand project has been completed along much of the shore, but many of the court cases live on.

In six previous cases that have come to trial, awards to homeowners have ranged from $330,000 from a case in Point Pleasant Beach, to between $50,000 and $100,000, the attorney said. Two were decided in favor of the amount the state had offered, which has typically been in the hundreds or low thousands.


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