Toms River property owner John McDonough signs on to protective dune plan after months of battle

The battle over building protective dunes along the Jersey Shore has seen landowners facing off against government. (4/11/14)

TOMS RIVER - One of the last big holdouts over building protective dunes along the Jersey Shore has signed on.

John McDonough, owner of Ocean Beach Sales & Rentals, and the town's mayor were not seeing eye to eye. Toms River Mayor Tom Kelaher had called McDonough "selfish" for holding out against the Army Corps of Engineers' plan to build the dunes along the barrier island.

The battle over building protective dunes along the Jersey Shore has seen landowners facing off against government.

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State and local municipalities fought to seize beachfront property in order to build dunes that would protect inland areas from future stores.

McDonough, one of the area's biggest property owners, says he has agreed to the plan after the city met some of his terms. McDonough and his tenants will get access to parts of the beach. In return, he and owners associations will continue to maintain parts of the beach.

"We're on that beach almost every day cleaning it, raking it, grooming it," McDonough says. "And under the terms of the original easement we could not have continued to do that; now we can."

The dune would be close to the beachfront properties. He told News 12 New Jersey why he felt now was the time to sign on.

"Originally I thought that perhaps we should be the one building the dune," McDonough says. "It became apparent that we didn't have the resources to replenish the beach and build the dune, so I became a little more open to the discussing this issue."

"I had pressure on me and I wanted to put the pressure on him," says Kelaher. "He had always agreed that the dunes were a good idea. He just had some real concerns."

Another smaller landowner who is sandwiched in between his properties also signed Friday, but there are still some smaller holdouts.

The mayor of Toms River expects that the Army Corps of Engineers could start the dune in September, whether the last holdouts have signed on to the project or not.

 

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