By NANETTE LoBIONDO GALLOWAY
MARGATE – City commissioners say they are unsightly and want beachgoers to remove beach chairs and other personal property being chained to dune crossover fences.
“It’s a zoo up there,” Margate Mayor Michael Becker said after Commissioner Maury Blumberg brought up the issue during the July 15 Board of Commissioners meeting.
According to city solicitor John Scott Abbott, the city can remove the chairs without liability.
“We do have control of the beach and a contractual obligation with the DEP that the dunes not be obstructed or anyway interfered with,” he said.
The state, which regulates the recently erected dune system across New Jersey’s coastline, prohibits anyone from crossing over the dune fencing.
Blumberg wants the city to get stickers made to let anyone parking their beach chair on the ocean side of the dune or on the dune crossovers that they will have a week to remove them, or the city will do it.
“I’m ok with…tying chairs and kayaks to the bulkheads…but we can’t allow the beach to be a storage bin for whatever people want to leave, whether it wagons, grills, or suitcases,” he said.
Blumberg said surfboards are being left on fences of the dunes, as well.
“It’s a free for all down there now,” Blumberg said.
Blumberg said the beach tag checkers could tag the chairs at the end of their shift, giving property owners a week to remove them or the city will cut the chains and move them to another location.
The question is, if the city removes them, where will they store them?
The Public Works building was recently torn down, and the Police Department has no place to store them, Chief Matthew Hankinson said.
“If we have to cut them, we cut them and move them up to the bulkhead. It’s up to the people to find them. If they are lucky enough to still be there, then they get them back,” Blumberg said. “We shouldn’t have to worry about storing them.”
Abbott said the city would have no liability for moving personal property.
“I think they are actually trespassing on the dunes,” he said.
Federal law prevents any interference with the dunes, Commissioner John Amodeo said.
Public Works Supervisor Frank Ricciotti said the city removed beach chairs about 20 years ago and stored them at the PW yard until residents claimed them. Although some people complained, others didn’t bother to claim their property.
“There are still actually a couple kayaks laying in the yard,” he said.
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