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Ocean Beach Owner McDonough Signs Easements to Allow Dune Project

John McDonough signs dune easements, April 11, 2014. (Photo: Daniel Nee)
John McDonough signs dune easements, April 11, 2014. (Photo: Daniel Nee)
The man who the Toms River mayor called "selfish" for not signing an easement to allow a dune and beach replenishment project to move forward had a change of heart and signed the documents on Friday.

John McDonough owns the oceanfront access points along a large portion of the township's northern beaches section. In some cases, McDonough owns the land under people's homes and in others, he and his family rents oceanfront access to homeowners' associations.

McDonough, in a high-profile battle with township officials after Superstorm Sandy struck, refused to sign an easement allowing a protective dune to be constructed as part of a U.S. Army Corps of Engineers project slated to begin this fall. But after working with township officials – and after Gov. Chris Christie signed an executive order mandating that slivers of oceanfront that are privately owned be taken if easements aren't signed – McDonough changed his mind.

"With the beach replenishment and the rebuilding of the dunes, I think we'll be in much better shape to weather future storms," said McDonough, minutes after shaking hands with Mayor Thomas Kelaher and signing the easement documents.

McDonough said he was not against the dune project taking place, but had concerns about beach access via crossovers and whether his staff could continue to maintain the beach as they have done for decades.

The terms of the easement, after McDonough worked with township engineer Robert Chankalian and state Department of Environmental Protection officials, was ultimately clarified so as to allow dune crossovers and a walkway behind where the dune would be built.

"We were able to address his concerns, which were valid," said Chankalian. "Due to the configuration of his lots, he wanted to make sure that the oceanfront homes maintained their access to the beach. ... Once we were able to provide Mr. McDonough with clear answers from NJDEP, he was satisfied."

With McDonough's signature in hand, the township has just five outstanding easements to obtain in order to avoid taking the easements through the eminent domain process.

Ken Fitzsimmons, the township attorney, said he is hopeful that McDonough's signature may spur other homeowners' associations to do the same.

The replenishment project will result in the construction of dunes at least 25 feet high, anchored with dune grass, and a beach approximately 200 feet long.
Spooner April 13, 2014 at 10:36 AM
...is that you 'proud' hiding behind "Failed & Fraud'??
FIMF the ll April 13, 2014 at 01:16 PM
No, it's a washed APP sycophant that can't quite seem to make up her mind.
Spooner April 13, 2014 at 03:15 PM
So you a her or an id!
MilesD April 14, 2014 at 01:39 PM
Daniel... but did you know that the board of the Ocean Beach and Bay Club did bump up they annual dues significantly for both 2013 & 2014 for "improvements" where mailed notices had enclosed collection threats to any 'tea partiers'.

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