In 1962, a powerful storm destroyed 350 homes on Long Beach Island. At the time, landowners were blocked from rebuilding beyond what was considered a reasonably durable portion of the shoreline. Franklin H. Berry, of this firm, argued the constitutionality of that ordinance before the New Jersey Supreme court and won. Today, as a result of another storm, Hurricane Sandy, a new construction controversy looms over Long Beach Island.
Between Rosemma and Beck Street lies a 24-acre piece of sandy property that was wetlands prior to Hurricane Sandy. After the storm, residents found the wind had blown tons of sand past oceanfront homes and deposited it on land across the street.
Much of residential and commercial Long Beach Island is built up on wetlands. The now-sandy property is credited by neighbors with absorbing much of the flooding from Hurricane Sandy and saving their own property.
In recent months activity on the property has concerned neighbors including:
* The property was posted for sale in May for $2.2 million. In June the sale sign was removed.
* In February, half-interest in the property, long held by a local family, was sold to a California resident.
* In July, a developer set up stakes on the property for the owner to determine the depth of sand on the property.
Use of the property would require approval by the New Jersey Department of Environmental Protection (DEP). At present, the agency indicates the property is unbuildable. Residents would like to see the property formally acquired and preserved as open space.
Storms give and storms take away. This case potentially pits an owner interested in development with residents concerned about preservation and future safety from storms.