The Latest: Judge rules against homeowners in dune wars case

TRENTON, N.J. (AP) — A judge has ruled against a wealthy New Jersey shore enclave’s attempt to opt out of a protective sand dune plan in an area devastated by Superstorm Sandy.

Superior Court Judge Marlene Lynch Ford ruled in favor of the state on Wednesday and against oceanfront homeowners in Bay Head, Mantoloking  and Point Pleasant Beach. The homeowners say a $5 million rock wall they built with their own money provides adequate storm protection, but the state disagrees. Bob Martin, commissioner of the state’s department of environmental protection, says the ruling is a strong vindication of the state’s authority to protect people and property there. A lawyer for the homeowners says they’re disappointed in the ruling. Ford previously upheld the state’s right to use eminent domain proceedings to seize land for the dune project.