Towns hit by Sandy wrestle with questions of eminent domain in beach protection projects

IndustriesAssociated Press

The Long Island village of Asharoken (ASH'-uh-roh-kehn) faces a dilemma as it seeks to protect itself from erosion and other problems in the wake of Superstorm Sandy.

It can accept federal aid to build a dune and create public access to its beach for the first time in nearly 90-year history. Or it can reject aid, retain its private beach and allow erosion and other issues to worsen.

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It's a quandary playing out along the East Coast, where the Army Corps of Engineers is spending $5.3 billion to build dunes, enlarge beaches and slow migration of sand. Property owners must sign easements in perpetuity.

Asharoken residents say allowing public access could create traffic problems and lead to trespassing and more garbage.

Officials say they must protect the coast for everyone.