The Latest: Judge rules against homeowners in dune wars case

AP News
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Posted: Aug 16, 2017 9:48 PM

TRENTON, N.J. (AP) — The Latest on New Jersey dune wars case (all times local):

9:45 p.m.

A judge has ruled against a wealthy New Jersey shore enclave's attempt to opt out of a protective sand dune plan in an area devastated by Superstorm Sandy.

Superior Court Judge Marlene Lynch Ford ruled in favor of the state on Wednesday and against oceanfront homeowners in Bay Head, Mantoloking (mahn-toh-LOH'-king) and Point Pleasant Beach.

The homeowners say a $5 million rock wall they built with their own money provides adequate storm protection, but the state disagrees.

Bob Martin, commissioner of the state's department of environmental protection, says the ruling is a strong vindication of the state's authority to protect people and property there.

A lawyer for the homeowners says they're disappointed in the ruling.

Ford previously upheld the state's right to use eminent domain proceedings to seize land for the dune project.

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8:50 a.m.

A federal appeals court has refused to halt a beach replenishment project in New Jersey that led to ponds of bacteria-laden water after a storm.

Judge Thomas Vanaskie, writing for the 3rd Circuit Court of Appeals on Tuesday, denied Margate's request to stay a lower court ruling that allowed the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers to continue. The lower court also had ordered the Army Corps to fence off any areas with ponding of 2 or more inches of water, along with other conditions.

The ponds are exactly what Margate residents had warned of in previous, unsuccessful litigation against the government's plan to build the protective sand dunes at the coastal town south of Atlantic City.

The work aims to protect New Jersey's coastline following the devastation of Superstorm Sandy.