Judge: N. Wildwood Can Sue State for $21 Million

North Wildwood has been granted the right to proceed with a lawsuit seeking to recover the $21 million it spent on repairing its dunes after they were severely eroded by a storm.

The town defied the state Department of Environmental Protection (DEP) and carried out emergency repairs in October after Hurricane Ian wreaked havoc on its shoreline. However, the city has been barred from building a bulkhead along a severely eroded section of its shoreline by Superior Court Judge Michael Blee.

The bulkhead in question is a 400 foot section on the beach near 15th Avenue. This roughly $800,000 steel bulkhead would protect not only the North Wildwood Beach Patrol headquarters but also millions of dollars in private and public property.

In his ruling, Judge Blee ordered the city to submit a new request to the DEP for authorization to do emergency repairs, as the city claims that the conditions on the beach are steadily deteriorating. According to city officials, the beach has lost 75% of its sand.

Touring the 15th street beach just last week, the Wildwood Video Archive documented the ongoing erosion of the dunes. You can watch that video at the bottom of this article.

Their estimation of 75% of the beach is correct but what is being overlooked is the importance of needed a new bulkhead. The current dune at 15th street is more than half destroyed. This means if the New Jersey coast were to get hit by a big storm, this dune will fail causing water to rush onto the streets of North Wildwood.

While the restraining order on building a bulkhead was a setback for the city, Mayor Patrick Rosenello saw the ruling as a significant victory, as the judge allowed North Wildwood to proceed with its own litigation against the state.

The city has been trucking in sand from neighboring beaches over the past decade, waiting for a federal and state beach replenishment project that most of the rest of the Jersey Shore has already received.

Judge Allows N. Wildwood to Sue State for $21 Million

Judge: N. Wildwood Can Sue State for $21 Million

This ruling serves as a reminder of the ongoing challenges faced by coastal communities in the state as they attempt to balance environmental protection with the need to maintain their infrastructure and mitigate the effects of natural disasters.

The city of North Wildwood’s lawsuit highlights the difficult decisions that these communities must make when it comes to protecting their shorelines.

Check out these other Wildwood videos and articles below.

Mudhen Purchases More Property