As the Shore Floods, Chris Christie Calls Out Anti-Dune Homeowners in Margate
As New Jersey shore towns deal with flooding today due to Winter Storm Jonas, Gov. Chris Christie had strong words for homeowners who oppose dune-replenishment projects on their beaches.
During a press conference at noon on Saturday, Christie — who had planned on continuing his presidential campaign in Iowa today but later reversed course — called out two shore towns that have been fighting view-blocking sand dunes: Point Pleasant Beach, in Ocean County, and Margate — the Absecon Island town that’s the home of Lucy the Elephant.
“If you look at what’s happening in Margate, in Point Pleasant Beach, two places that are fighting hard against the dunes,” Christie said, “I saw today … that early this morning already there was significant water in the streets in Margate, ice that was floating up the streets, that it had already gone over the wall that the residents and government in Margate say is good enough to protect them from any storm.
“We really need to get moving on these dune projects. It’s three years post-Sandy — this should not be being held up by what I believe are a very few selfish homeowners who do not want to give in to the idea that we have to build these dunes by using the fake excuse that somehow I want to build a boardwalk, or a Ferris wheel, or a hot dog stand, or public bathrooms on the strip of land that we’re taking. It’s a ridiculous idea put forward by some selfish folks and their selfish lawyers who are just looking to make money off of this.”
Margate has been fighting the construction of sand dunes since Christie proposed them in the wake of Hurricane Sandy. Last year, Christie called Margate homeowners protesting the dunes “selfish” and, after a $29,000 offer for beachfront easements was rebuffed, moved to use eminent domain for the project.
Last month, Margate won a new hearing challenging New Jersey’s use of eminent domain. The town and many residents say wooden bulkheads are sufficient to protect the town from storm damage.
altogether now to @GovChristie : The significant flooding from Margate is from the back bays, not the ocean…
— Amy S. Rosenberg (@amysrosenberg) January 23, 2016
Whatever the merits of Christie’s arguments in general, today his rant is a bit misplaced. The flooding in Margate today from the storm is largely from the bayside, not the beach.
Margate wasn’t the only town that Christie called out. Christie also talked about Point Pleasant Beach and Bay Head, communities in Ocean County, for opposing dunes. He referenced Ortley Beach, a section of Toms River, that Christie said has had its dune project stopped by residents in those two neighboring towns.
“Ortley Beach is being pounded,” Christie said. “Now we put a lot of sand up there at the request of the mayor of Toms River, but that sand is already washed away. If we had the dune project moving in that area, those people in Ortley Beach would not be suffering the property damage they are today. If the people in Ortley Beach sustain that kind of damage, they can send their thank you notes to the people in Bay Head and the people in Point Pleasant Beach who continue to fight what is an environmentally sound and necessary project.”
Christie was later called out himself by Action News’ Cecily Tynan.
— Cecily Tynan (@CecilyTynan) January 23, 2016
She says Christie is actually underplaying the flooding, despite his rant against Margate homeowners.