Important Info For Bay Front Property Owners

This subject was discussed last week with a bay front property owner planning to sell:

Original post June 2016. 

I attended a seminar this morning with important information regarding bay front ownership.

Some Riparian Grants issued between the late 1980s through the early 2000s have the following language:

“This grant is made upon the condition and limitation that there shall be no further filling of the presently flowed tidelands.  If any filling does occur within the presently flowed tidelands herein granted, the title to the lands conveyed herein shall immediately and automatically revert to the ownership of the State of New Jersey, but without any diminution in the consideration paid upon the delivery of this instrument.”

When a property owner installs a new bulkhead (which typically extends 24″ out from the existing bulkhead based on current zoning), the State defines the added 24″ as “filling”.  And YES, even if the required Borough, DEP and/or CAFRA permits were obtained.

The Department of Tidelands has a new regime, and this enforcement is viewed by attorneys and title company representatives as a method to generate revenue.  A true “money grab”.  Frustrating to say the least!

Bottom line: the State of New Jersey expects the land owner to “buy back” this filled area, even though a large sum of money was paid for the original Riparian Grant.  

Unfortunately, the issue will not go away.  Even if a bay front owner has no plans to sell, their heirs will eventually face the problem.  And because the cost to resolve is based on the value of the land, it makes sense to remove the lien sooner rather than later.

Practical steps if you own a property on the bay:

1) Find your original title work (settlement papers).  If a Riparian Grant was issued on the property, it will be attached. Look on the Riparian survey for the “claimed area”. Is it adjacent to, or crossing over the bulkhead area?

2) Read the language in the grant- checking specially for the reverter clause referenced above (not necessarily in all grants).

3) If the reverter clause is in the grant and you have installed a new bulkhead that sits beyond the original bulkhead, it’s important to determine if  any action is required.  A current survey will be needed to show the exact measurements of the new bulkhead, too.

A local title company and land use attorney can help you apply for a Statement of Non-Interest or a Confirmatory Grant from the State of New Jersey.

I am here to provide recommendations for experienced professionals, and answer any questions to the best of my ability.



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