MANTOLOKING - The Mantoloking Town Council passed an ordinance Tuesday that it hopes will protect the community from future storms like Sandy.
The measure, which was passed unanimously, will allow the town to use eminent domain to seize private beachfront property in order to build a protective dune system.
There are still seven homeowners who have not signed easements that would allow two separate projects. First, the state will install a 16-foot steel wall on the beach. Next summer, the Army Corps of Engineers will add massive sand dunes.
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Mayor George Niebel says it wasn't just the oceanfront homes that were damaged during the storm, but homes throughout the community. "And they know the reason is because we didn't have an Army Corps project in place. Now, a certain relief for most homeowners that now have taken the last step," Niebel says.
"We're on a barrier island," says Special Counsel Chris Nelson. "It's also important for back bay communities because it prevents the bay from filling up with water and flooding the back bay."
More than 100 beachfront property owners have signed the easements. Eminent domain will allow the town to move ahead with the dune project.
The mayor and council hope to push the legal process through within a few weeks.