LONGPORT – In an effort to appease residents who questioned public notification of an ordinance that would provide the State of New Jersey with a perpetual easement over street ends to ensure the public has access to tidal waters, the Board of Commissioners has agreed to take steps to ensure the public has adequate notice.
At their meeting on Wednesday, July 10, the Board of Commissioners agreed to have the ordinance posted on the borough’s website, www.longportnj.gov, before it is re-introduced at the next meeting,
The ordinance, which would execute an irrevocable deed of dedication and perpetual easement access at all street ends to allow the public to access tidal waterways for bathing, fishing and recreation, is a component of the borough’s Beach Access Plan, which was previously submitted to the DEP but has yet to be approved. It is also required for the borough to obtain a five-year Beach Maintenance Permit from CAFRA, which governs development along the beachfront.
The borough’s beach maintenance permit expired last summer. Although the Public Works Department has been raking the beach to ensure it is safe for summer bathers, the borough could be fined for doing the work without a permit, Solicitor Pacifico “Pat” Agnellini said.
Language in the ordinance will be refined to identify that the easement is limited to “pedestrian transit rights” only, before it is re-introduced at the July 24 commissioners meeting, he said.
The regulations address issues that are not a problem in Longport, he said. Rather they are being implemented in all New Jersey shore communities to prevent towns from vacating street ends that could provide adjacent property owners with a way to prevent the public from accessing the beach.
Margate City is in the process of creating its own Beach Access Plan, but its maintenance permit does not expire until the end of this year, Agnellini said.
Commissioner Jim Leeds questioned why the state is “holding us hostage for something we didn’t do.”
The CAFRA beach maintenance permit allows municipalities to clear blowing sand from crossovers, move sand that collects between the dune and bulkhead, remove debris that washes up along the shoreline, and smooth out dangerous drops that occur during storms or high tides.
Agnellini said the borough should make a draft of the ordinance available on its website before the next meeting to ensure the public’s participation.
The ordinance will be presented to the commissioners for their individual review by July 15, and revised again if necessary before it is posted on the website on July 19, he said. Copies will also be available at the Borough Clerk’s Office.