Josh Dawsey
The Wall Street Journal
December 26, 2013

Many New Jersey Shore towns battered by superstorm Sandy are moving to seize private land to accommodate a network of protective coastal dunes, using their powers of eminent domain in a way officials say they never have before.

The state needed about 2,000 property owners to sign easements for the dunes to be constructed, but about 780 have declined to do so, said Christopher Porrino, who recently was appointed chief counsel for Republican Gov. Chris Christie after serving as director of the state attorney general’s division of law.

Town officials are sending out letters and appraisers, signaling they are prepared to seize the land. The move is supported by the Christie administration. An executive order signed by the governor this fall gave towns the go-ahead “to commandeer …any privately owned property” needed to minimize the risk of coastal flooding.

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