ANNAPOLIS, DEC. 16 -- The Maryland Board of Public Works today approved the long-awaited rebuilding and widening of nine miles of eroded Ocean City beach, even though several owners of beachfront property are still balking at the state's pleas to use their land for the $45 million project.

Attorney General J. Joseph Curran said he intends next week to file suit against six property owners, who have rebuffed the state's 18 months of attempts to secure their permission -- attempts that have included personal telephone appeals from Gov. William Donald Schaefer.

"We don't like to do it against Maryland citizens or other citizens who live there," Curran told the public works board, which approves all state construction projects. "But if we have to, we will do it."

The state needs the property owners' permission for the second phase of the two-part project to replenish the beach at Maryland's biggest resort, which has been scoured over the last few decades by normal erosion and harsh storms.

In the first phase, which will cost the state $15 million and is to begin in April, 2.3 million cubic yards of sand will be pumped from sand bars offshore and dumped onto the nine-mile-long beach, widening it to 165 feet, or roughly triple its current width.

Then, starting in the fall of 1989, a series of tall dunes will be constructed to provide the beach with enough protection from erosion to weather the worst storm likely to occur in a century. The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers is willing to pay for 60 percent of that phase -- but there is a catch.

The corps cannot work on private property, and therefore cannot begin erecting the dunes unless all 234 owners of Ocean City's private beachfront property grant an easement to the state.

Last year, when the General Assembly appropriated funds for the first phase, it said the public works board could not let the beach repairs begin until "substantially" all the property owners had given permission.

So far, all but 18 have granted easements, and a dozen of the holdouts have indicated they will relent. And that is enough to let the project's first phase proceed, the public works board said today. "I think you've done a remarkable job, if we have eight to 10 holdouts," said Schaefer, who serves on the public works board along with the state treasurer and comptroller.

But that leaves an obstacle of six property owners, who hold eight parcels of prime beachfront. One of them is John Carruthers, the owner of a real estate company in Bethesda, who lives in Potomac but owns two beachfront summer houses on 50-foot lots at 83rd Street in Ocean City. He said the lots are worth "several hundred thousand dollars" apiece.

Carruthers says he sympathizes with the state's desire to repair one of its most valuable natural assets, but not if it means putting a dune between his picture windows and the ocean.

"I'm not very pleased they are going to build a wall of sand that will block my view," he said in an interview today. "I really don't choose to have a fight. {But} I have problems with them asking me to donate my front yard to block my view."

A few weeks ago, Carruthers was startled to get a phone call from Schaefer, inquiring what his objections were to the easement. "It was not threatening," he said, and there was no mention of a lawsuit.

Informed today that the state plans to file suit, Carruthers said, "I'm a little shocked. I don't like the fact they're threatening to sue people. I own the land." He said he was uncertain whether he would relent to avert the litigation.

Despite the impending legal fight, state and local politicians today sounded gleeful that the beach was, at last, about to be repaired.

"Today will go down as a great day -- the day the state government decided to replenish the beach of Ocean City," the town's mayor, Roland E. (Fish) Powell, told the public works board. "It is just nice all the branches of government have worked together for something that future generations can enjoy."