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New Public Access Rules a Step Back for Public Access

Date : Tue, 17 Aug 2010 21:07:40 -0400

For Immediate Release
August 17, 2010 Contact: Jeff Tittel, 609-558-9100

New Public Access Rules a Step Back for Public Access

The Department of Environmental Protection today unveiled a draft of proposed public access to beaches and coastal waterways. This is the first major rule from the Christie Administration.

The Sierra Club was aware that the original rules were an overreach in certain areas and expected changes by the Christie Administration; however, we have concerns with some of the proposed changes. We believe that the guidelines for the municipal access plans are too vague, provide too much distraction, and can be used as a process to get around providing adequate access.

We're also concerned that funds paid in lieu of access are not adequate and will not allow for that access to be acquired.

"We believe these rules do uphold the importance of public access, however, parts of them are so vague that towns may have an excuse to close the door on public access," NJ Sierra Club Director Jeff Tittel said.

We're also concerned that existing commercial and industrial buildings, sewer plants and other large facilities are exempted. When any of these facilities block public access, there should be a way to require access or help pay for access at another place. When industrial or commercial sites are redeveloped, access should be required.

"Public access is critical for the quality of life of the people of New Jersey and for our tourism industry," Tittel said. "The more and better access we have, the more people will visit our waterways, waterfront communities, and beaches."

There was a semantical change in the rules that is symbolic. The wording public trust was removed and now where ever it said public trust it now says public access. "They removed public trust; will they now remove public access?" Tittel said.

There are some things in the rules we agree with, including allowing for temporary beach bars in Atlantic City. It is a good thing that we have not limited access from the Hudson River Walkway or existing locations. We think these rules are less subject to challenge than the previous rules but we believe they still need improvement.

Kara Seymour, Program Assistant NJ Sierra Club 145 W. Hanover Street Trenton, NJ 08618 609.656.7612 (f) 609.656.7618  <http://www.newjersey.sierraclub.org/> www.newjersey.sierraclub.org   Received on 2010-08-17 18:07:40

New Jersey Sierra Club, 145 West Hanover St., Trenton, NJ 08618, USA
tel: 609 656 7612, fax 609 656 7618
or email Nicole Dallara, Outreach Coordinator, at nicole.dallara@sierraclub.org

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