STATE SETTLES SEA ISLE CITY DEED ISSUE, GAINS PROTECTION FOR DUNES AND WETLANDS
(07/35) TRENTON -The state has transferred title to eight properties on 47th Place in Sea Isle City, clearing the way for the owners to finally gain legal deeds, Department of Environmental Protection Commissioner Lisa P. Jackson announced today.
“This brings to a conclusion a situation created by a 65-year-old deed mix-up that deprived residents of the ability to gain clear title to their land,” Commissioner Jackson said. “The DEP and the Attorney General’s office worked hard to craft an agreement that allows them to continue enjoying their properties while ensuring the state receives fair compensation.’’
Attorney General Stuart Rabner added: “We are pleased that, through collaborative effort with the Department of Environmental Protection, we have been able to work out a settlement agreement that removes the cloud from the property owners' titles in a fair and equitable way.”
The state transferred title to Sea Isle City, which has agreed to convey titles to the property owners.
As compensation to the state, Sea Isle City agreed to conservation restrictions for 147 dune lots and 24 wetlands lots that provide protection to the city from storms as well as habitat for wildlife. The restrictions prevent removal of soil, grading, installation of structures or removal of vegetation. Certain maintenance activities and post-storm restorations are permissible with DEP approval.
The city is also conveying to the state a 24-acre dredge-disposal island that will serve in the maintenance of area waterways.
The deed dilemma arose in 2005, when the DEP learned that the state still held title to the properties on 47th Place as the result of a World War II-era land transfer. In 1942, the city had transferred title to the state to allow a dredging project to move forward. The deed was never returned to the city. The land was sold for development in the 1960s.
When the situation came to light, the DEP and the Attorney General’s office immediately began working on a solution to overcome a legal hurdle that bars conveyance of state-owned tidelands without the state receiving fair market value in return.
In addition to the island and conservation restrictions for dunes and wetlands, the state will also receive more than $1 million from title companies to settle the transfer. The Attorney General’s Office continues to negotiate with an additional resident of 47th Place.