Borough of Harvey Cedars v. Karan

214 N.J. 384 (2013)

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Borough of Harvey Cedars v. Karan

New Jersey Supreme Court
214 N.J. 384 (2013)

  • Written by Robert Cane, JD

Facts

The Borough of Harvey Cedars (the borough) (plaintiff) engaged in part of a public-works project spanning the length of Long Beach Island in Ocean County, New Jersey. The project involved the construction of a dune that connected with other dunes running the length of the island. The purpose of the project was to protect homes and businesses on the island from damage caused by waves during powerful storms and ocean surges. Harvey and Phyllis Karan (defendants) owned beachfront property that was partially taken by the borough for construction of the dune. The Karans’ property was a single-family home sitting on about 12,000 square feet of land. The upper floor of the home had a panoramic view of the beach and ocean. The dune was 22-feet high and covered over 3,000 square feet of the property, which was over 25 percent of the property. The dune obstructed the Karans’ view of the beach. At the condemnation trial, the Karans offered evidence that the dune caused a loss in value of their $1.9 million property. The trial court did not permit the borough to show that the protection afforded by the dune enhanced the value to the Karans’ property. The court reasoned that the storm protection of the dune was a general benefit to the community, not a special benefit to the Karans directly. The jury awarded the Karans $375,000 in damages without considering how much the dune enhanced the Karans’ property. The appellate court affirmed the award. The borough appealed to the New Jersey Supreme Court.

Rule of Law

Issue

Holding and Reasoning (Albin, J.)

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