MARGATE, N.J. (CBS) — New developments in the legal battle between the City of Margate and the feds over the controversial dune project that led to flooding on the beaches this summer.
Margate and the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers reached a deal according to the shore town’s attorney Jordan Rand.
“The beach is back. It was a horrible summer. It was a very rough summer and hopefully citizens can take solace in the fact that the Army Corps is owning its mistake and going to fix it,” said Rand.
Margate officials say because of the state ordered dune project, which they never wanted, there was poor drainage at the beaches.
After heavy rain fell, several times during the summer, pools of bacteria laden water at beaches led to closures.
Now, the dune project will be completed, Rand says, but the Army Corps will install an under the beach pipe system which would collect water and send it to the ocean.
“We fought the dunes, we were never in favor of these, we lost in court but this is a big gain for us,” says Margate Mayor Michael Becker, who said the drainage system is worth about $10 million.
“The pipes are a solution to a problem we didn’t have,” says Chuck Cavanaugh from the group Margate Citizens Questioning the Beach Project.
He says opposition to an outfall pipe system is one of the main reasons they were against dunes in the first place.
“They’re hard projectiles out into the water. With all the surf and kids out there, people bang into them,” says Cavanaugh.
There are also concerns about the city entering into a long term beach agreement with the State of New Jersey, which is a condition of getting the new drainage system.
Becker assured Eyewitness News that residents don’t have to fear future tax hikes when the state wants to do beach replenishment every 3 to 5 years.
“Actually the state aid agreement says in specific wording that we will not have to pay for any future replenishments,” says Becker.
He says the state aid agreement is still in negotiations but it could be signed by the end of the month and the pipes could be in place by next summer.