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Appellate Court Upholds Beach Access

Date : Wed, 3 Oct 2012 11:57:53 -0400

For Immediate Release
October 1, 2012 Contact:Jeff Tittel, Director, NJ Sierra Club, 609-558-9100

Appellate Court Upholds Beach Access

The Appellate Court has upheld the right of the public to access the ocean and waterways in an unpublished decision.Following a 2005 Supreme Court decision that required private beach clubs to provide access under the public trust doctrine, the DEP had filed a complaint against 9 beach clubs for not allowing such access, including the Sea Bright Beach Club.The decision by the appellate court maintained this public access requirement at private clubs.

"These beach clubs for far too long have blocked the public from accessing beaches that belong to all of us and that the public has paid to protect from storm surges and replenish.They have received public benefits while keeping the public out.This court decision is a victory for public access, the Public Trust doctrine, and the right of the people of New Jersey to access our waterways.The Courts are protecting our public access rights while the DEP is rewriting and weakening the rules to take away access," *said Jeff Tittel, Director, NJ Sierra Club.

The DEP is expected to publish the final public access rule in the Register this Thursday.The changes to the Beach Access Rules further limit the ability of citizens to access beaches, bays, and waterways.The DEP has proposed a second substantive change on adoption to the Beach Access Rules.The new change would eliminate the Department of Transportation's (DOT) responsibility to require public access points for linear developments such as highway and bridge projects.The Christie administration's beach access rules were a major setback for public access.The rules were weakened for marinas, industrial facilities and redevelopment sites, and now they are doing it for transportation.The Sierra Club continues to oppose the beach access rule and the proposed changes.

"Calling these rules public access rules is an oxymoron.The rules could actually be used to overturn this court decision if Sea Bright came in with a beach access plan that got approved by DEP pulling back access points," said Jeff Tittel.

The decision can be viewed at: http:www.judiciary.state.nj.us/opinions/a6070-09.pdf<a>

-- 
Kate Millsaps
Conservation Program Coordinator
NJ Chapter of the Sierra Club
609-656-7612
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