Flood Protection and Takings, This Ought to be Interesting

Just sitting here in the aftermath of Hurricane Sandy and thinking back on a court case I recently read about. Back in June the New Jersey Supreme Court decided it would review a lower court case that determined that dunes blocking the view of the water from a first floor dining room constituted a taking valued at $350,000. The Borough of Harvey Cedars, New Jersey, exercised eminent domain to secure easements to construct dunes to protect the Borough from floods.  The Borough determined that the taking was valued at only $300 the court felt the impact on view was worth far more.  The mayor opined during the court proceedings, what’s more important “the view or the house?

Hurricane Sandy, and the devastation it caused in New Jersey got me to wondering how this community fared.  If the articles I have read are accurate,  the Borough of Harvey Cedars and its dunes did not fare well.  “In places where the island is only a few blocks wide, such as Harvey Cedars, the ocean met the bay over the borough’s streets. Dunes were obliterated, and sand blanketed parts of Long Beach Boulevard, the 18-mile-long island’s main drag.”

 

“A portion of Harvey Cedars on Long Beach Island, N.J., was underwater Tuesday, a day after Hurricane Sandy blew across the New Jersey barrier islands.”

I cannot help but wonder, whether the house that was impacted by the dune was constructed to meet flood zone standards, with the first floor constructed to be above base flood elevation.  One would think that, if it was constructed to flood standards, the view would only have been minimally impacted.

In the wake of the destruction, it will be interesting to see what happens with this court case.

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