According to the DEP, Atlantic Highlands & Highlands have a long recorded history of slumping that goes back hundreds of years and continues to this day. “Most of the older slumps were probably caused by under cutting from Atlantic Ocean wave action during a time when Raritan Bay was open to the ocean hundreds of years ago” (Minard,1974). One of these slumps occurred in 1782, making it the earliest recorded landslide in New Jersey. There have been other smaller landslides in this area during the last 100 years.
Let’s look at some of them, shall we?
Construction of the Eastpointe tower in the mid-1970s, despite public warnings against the construction from USGS, triggered faults in soil blocks and produced actual movement on the hill that required a major change in the County owned road known as Ocean Boulevard, which at the time ran in front of Eastpointe. It was forever closed to through traffic, and what had been a 40-foot wide road was reduced to a sixteen foot access road. Further the County was forced to buy & demolished four houses — one at the top, one in the middle and two nearer the bottom of the slope leading down from the Scenic Overlook park. Clearing away these structures allowed the County to institute uniform measures to protect soils and vegetation, eliminate impervious cover, and close off public access on the steep slope there.
2. South Linden
January 1999, a “wall of mud, rocks and vegetation” 20 feet long & 5 ft wide slammed down into the Highland Shores condominium complex on Shore Drive 100 feet below the hilltop, the residents of eight condo town houses on Shore Drive had to be evacuated because the hillside was found to be “unstable and at risk of another collapse,” The town engineer at the time was quoted as saying “It was a slope failure….Anyone can see that that area has subsided.”
April 2007, a nor’easter and torrential rain fall triggered a landslide between Linden Avenue & Shore Drive.
4. Shore Drive
August 2011, Hurricane Irene triggered a slide from the townhouses off Linden Avenue down to the town homes below at 319 Shore Drive. A total of 3 of the Hillside Town homes had mud, two others had other minor damage like losing their A/C units. Units 319 A&B had the worst damage. 319 B had actual structural damage towards the rear of the building.