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Margate Dune Construction Project Stops; Standing Water from Project Creating Health Risk

A dune construction project in the city of Margate has been stopped per order of the court. Superior Court Judge Julio Mendez ordered the halt and called the photos he saw of the standing water at the site “horrendous and alarming.”

The project was originally the result of an order from Governor Christie, who ordered the dune work along the entire 127-mile stretch of New Jersey coastline.

According to an attorney for the project, the standing water was caused by a near-100-year rainstorm. He stated the design of the dunes was “overly aggressive,” and future work would dig out to a higher elevation. He further explained to the judge that water brought in for the project made matters worse.

Residents of the area believe the project is unnecessary and one stated, “They were changing the beach for a problem that we didn’t have.” The project also limited beach access during the height of summer.

Emergency Restraining Order Halts Project Temporarily

A seven day emergency restraining order is now in place and puts the project on hold. According to the order, the project interferes with the rights of residents to “enjoy the natural resources” of the beach, and harming the health and safety of Margate residents.

Speaking about the project, Judge Mendez noted the Army Corps of Engineers originally promised the project would not leave the beach “worse off” than it was when it began, which played a role in his original decision to approve the project. He also noted timing might be a problem and waiting until the fall to complete the project might have caused fewer problems.

Now, a meeting is planned for early August in hopes a discussion can remedy the situation. The judge’s addition of the Army Corps of Engineers to the meeting could eventually move the case to federal court.

Margate’s mayor is happy with the judge’s recent decision and Margate’s attorney stated the city anticipated the drainage issues. He also pointed out people are getting sick and the problems are real. Recently, the beaches from Fredericksburg to Gladstone Avenues were closed because of bacteria levels in the standing water. The beaches will remain closed until the threat is no longer present.

Bacterial Infections Caused by Project

At least two people have already been made ill – lifeguards are receiving treatment for bacterial infections.

The judge is hoping issues are worked out by the parties involved before the restraining order expires.

The project has affected beachfront homeowners in the area, as well as New Jersey residents who enjoy the beaches as part of their summer recreation. Not only are they unable to access the entirety of the beachfront, they are at risk because of the standing water.

If you or a loved one contracted an illness because of this or any other construction project, or your life has been disrupted and your property affected, we can help. To learn more or to schedule a consultation with our office, contact Heavens Law at 888.897.5377.

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