LONG BEACH ISLAND - The owners of several Long Beach Island homes have won a lawsuit against New Jersey and Long Beach Township in the latest fight about sand dunes.

An Ocean County judge has ruled the state and township must pay seven oceanfront homeowners for illegally taking their properties for a sand dune project. The owners are entitled to fair market value and interest, along with a prorated share of taxes and attorneys' fees.

The properties were taken under the Disaster Control Act and not through eminent domain, which offers safeguards for property owners. The Disaster Control Act was designed to prevent damage to and the destruction of property during an emergency, in this instance another storm like Superstorm Sandy.

Homeowners argued the Disaster Control Act could only be used immediately after a disaster, not two years later. It is unclear who will be paying the homeowners. Long Beach Township says it was acting under directive of the state of New Jersey.

There is no word on if there will be an appeal to the decision.

The Associated Press wire services contributed to this report.