N.J. court: loss of ocean view in dune condemnation

by Walter Olson on July 9, 2013

New Jersey’s highest court ruled that a Harvey Cedars couple do not have to be compensated for the loss of an ocean view, as distinct from the loss of actual land, after the government condemned a strip of their beachfront for a dune restoration project. Relevant factor: the dune restoration is believed to have saved the couple’s home when Hurricane Sandy hit, and that benefit could properly be offset from the taking. [MaryAnn Spoto, Star-Ledger; earlier; edited/corrected to reflect comment]

More from reader TD in comments: “The reporter absolutely got it wrong. The court agreed the loss of a view could be a taking, but that it needed to be offset by the benefit incurred because the dune would presumably prevent future flooding. The lower courts had not allowed for the offset.”

{ 4 comments }

1 Hugo S. Cunningham 07.09.13 at 1:33 pm

The NJ court got it right. In computing “just compensation,” the government (as agent for the taxpayer) has the right to deduct the value of government subsidies, eg flood insurance and flood protection.

2 Frank 07.09.13 at 3:03 pm

“N.J. court: loss of ocean view not a taking in dune condemnation”

Are you sure that’s what the court said? Huh. I thought the Court stated that the difference in value before and after had to be calculated in order to appropriately compensate for the taking.

Wish I had a law degree so I understood these things..

3 TD 07.09.13 at 5:19 pm

Walter, don’t believe everything you read on the Internet. The reporter absolutely got it wrong. The court agreed the loss of a view could be a taking, but that it needed to be offset by the benefit incurred because the dune would presumably prevent future flooding. The lower courts had not allowed for the offset.

4 Walter Olson 07.09.13 at 5:32 pm

Thanks, updated with a correction.

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