MANTOLOKING - One of the communities that was hardest-hit by Superstorm Sandy is preparing to use eminent domain to take small strips of land from oceanfront homeowners who are holding up a critically needed beach replenishment project.

Mantoloking hired an attorney Tuesday to institute condemnation proceedings against a handful of holdouts who won't sign easements that would allow federal officials to carry out the work.

The work is desperately needed in Mantoloking, which saw every one of its 521 homes damaged, with scores destroyed. It would pay some compensation for any land taken.

Mayor George Nebel predicts only four or five residents will ultimately refuse to sign. He says the town has no choice if it wants to survive. Officials also plan to publicly release the names of the holdouts within the next week if they don't change their minds and sign.