POINT PLEASANT BEACH - A judge has sided with New Jersey in its efforts to seize parts of oceanfront land to build protective sand dunes.

Superior Court Judge Marlene Lynch Ford has ruled in favor of the state's Environmental Protection Department and against 28 oceanfront property owners in Ocean County. It's the first batch of cases challenging the project in that area, which was pummeled by Superstorm Sandy in 2012.

The judge ruled the DEP has the legal right to take property for the storm protection project and had negotiated properly with the owners, even in offering low-ball compensation for the land.

Ford refused to dismiss the condemnation cases.

But she granted a hearing on claims by homeowners in Bay Head and Mantoloking that their privately funded rock wall presents a special situation.