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Public access..changes are a-comin'

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I don't know if this was posted already or not. Sorry if it's redundant.

I'm generally not the one to say that the sky is falling, but for the life of me, I can't see how letting towns write their own access rules will benefit us in the least.

 

Get ready to rumble.

 

IMMEDIATE RELEASE:

June 15, 2010

Contact: Lawrence Ragonese (609) 292-2994

Lawrence Hajna (609) 984-1795

 

 

NEW COMMON SENSE PUBLIC ACCESS RULES PROPOSED FOR STATE'S BEACHES AND WATERWAYS

 

(10/P55) TRENTON - Commissioner Bob Martin today announced the DEP will create reasonable new rules on public access to the state's tidal waters, which include the ocean and rivers, with the goal of enhancing access while eliminating burdensome and costly access rules for local governments, businesses and property owners.

Proposed changes would end unreasonable mandates for cities and towns, and some commercial establishments and private property owners who now must provide parking, restroom facilities and, in some cases, 24/7 access to beaches and waterways. Those rules would be replaced by reasonable access requirements that recognize local conditions and costs.

"We want a policy in place that works for everyone, that allows ample and easy access to our waters while removing onerous burdens on businesses and property owners,'' said Commissioner Martin. "We are taking a common sense approach on public access.''

"Cities and towns know best how to plan for their own needs,'' said Commissioner Martin. "The DEP will ensure that certain standards are met, but local governments already are involved in land use planning _ both in creating master plans and adopting zoning regulations _ and they understand their communities better than regulatory agencies in Trenton.''

In coming months, the DEP will work with municipalities across the state to craft access plans that make local sense and protect the rights and needs of residents and businesses, rather than impose state-dictated access rules. The DEP, however, still must approve any municipal access plans.

While a long-term, comprehensive policy on access will be developed through the normal regulatory and legislative process, the Commissioner did announced three immediate rules changes to be implemented by DEP. Public access will not be required for waterfront dredging activities, developments at existing port facilities, and any existing facility prohibited by federal law from providing public access because of homeland security concerns. These changes mostly would affect inner harbors in urban areas.

All proposed and immediate changes have come after a series of stakeholder meetings with residents, environmental and business groups, and local elected leaders. The DEP is continuing that dialogue with stakeholders, with a goal of moving forward with the regulatory adoption process in July.

The DEP in 2007 adopted expansive regulations essentially requiring all property owners along ocean and tidal waters to provide on-site public access or to pay for off-site public access to the waters. The top-down regulations left cities and towns out of the planning process, and proved to be too costly and unwieldy with little public benefit.

Opponents challenged the 2007 regulations, contending they harmed economic growth and imposed unnecessary burdens and costs on them. The courts subsequently struck down various provisions and questioned the legal underpinning of the access policy and DEP's authority to implement those regulations.

Some of the public access changes to be proposed by the DEP this summer include:

"¢ The DEP would allow cities and towns to develop their own, individual public access plans.

"¢ Existing facilities that are expanding, rehabilitating or otherwise improving would not be obligated to provide public access. The only exceptions would be in cases of existing public access points that would be impacted by the new development.

"¢ New facilities along tidal waters would be mandated to provide public access if they prevent the public from having direct access to the water and use of the upland, or the owners could be directed to contribute to a public access fund.

"¢ Existing facilities with homeland security concerns would be exempt from providing public access, but must contribute to the state's access fund.

"¢ Single or two-family homes and small commercial developments would be exempt from public access rules.

"¢ Commercial marinas would be required to provide "reasonable'' public access, but would no longer need to offer access on a 24-hours-a-day, 7-days-a week basis. Private marinas may have similar requirements but there should be consideration that these boat slips are in front of private property.

"¢ Oceanfront municipalities would be required to provide reasonable access point to the beach and reasonable parking opportunities for visitors.

"¢ All municipalities' access hours and parking would be addressed primarily by municipal access plans, with access to be reasonable and recognize issues such as public safety and cost.

"¢ There will be no changes to current rules regarding the Hudson River Walkway.

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The entire key to such ambiguous nonsense is - Who gets to determine what is REASONABLE?

 

This is absolute nonsense - was there a law passed that gives the commissioner the authority to circumvent a hundred years of precedent? Or that would allow him to throw out all the agreements by which easements have been required previously?

 

What changed? cwm13.gif

 

TimS

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This "New Common Sense" part appears to be an oxymoron.

Don't we have any sensible representatives that are for,,We the people as opposed to we the people/towns with beach front property with alot of money that want their own rules?

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I particularly like the use of rhetoric in place of specifics e.g. "Cities and towns know best how to plan for their own needs,'' said Commissioner Martin. "The DEP will ensure that certain standards are met, but local governments already are involved in land use planning _ both in creating master plans and adopting zoning regulations _ and they understand their communities better than regulatory agencies in Trenton.''

View PostThe entire key to such ambiguous nonsense is - Who gets to determine what is REASONABLE?

 

 

"All proposed and immediate changes have come after a series of stakeholder meetings with residents, environmental and business groups, and local elected leaders. The DEP is continuing that dialogue with stakeholders, with a goal of moving forward with the regulatory adoption process in July."

 

Are they talking to us? All of the "stakeholders" get a chance to determine what is reasonable. The question becomes: Who determines who the "stakeholders" are? Has the NJ populous been considered as such, or just those living in the shore towns? Representing the general populous is what DEP does, right? clown.gif

We could--ahh, probably not. I was going to say: Take it to the Office of the Public Advocate? cwm27.gif

And to think fishing is supposed to be a good way to lower your blood pressure.

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View PostThe entire key to such ambiguous nonsense is - Who gets to determine what is REASONABLE?

 

This is absolute nonsense - was there a law passed that gives the commissioner the authority to circumvent a hundred years of precedent? Or that would allow him to throw out all the agreements by which easements have been required previously?

 

What changed? cwm13.gif

 

TimS

 

What changed is that Chris Christie was elected Governor. Don't ever forget that he is no friend of the NJDEP.

He is a rich man with rich friends who own waterfront homes and waterfront properties that they would like to develop into more waterfront homes without interference from you and me. He appointed another rich man (DEP Commissioner Martin) who owns a beach house himself and who has (along with all his very, very affluent neighbors) felt intruded upon by the great unwashed. That's you in case you didn't know it.

 

How anyone could possibly think that having each town draft their own access regulations, each and every one needing approval (nod, nod, wink, wink, nudge, nudge) could be more efficient than having one set of coastwide rules is beyond me. There is simply no way in hell that this can result in anything but restricted access to public domain.

 

Let's not forget that we supported these clowns with the endorsement of the NJ Outdoor Alliance. I guess we got a bear hunt out of it so it's all good right??mad.gif

 

Someone or some group will have to fight this out in court.

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The first thing that anyone who purchases waterfront viewing is to sit back and admire it. The second is to try and privatize it.

 

Most posts here on the NJ governor's race were of the general opinion that anyone and anything was better then Corzine, details immaterial. You pays your money and you took your choice.

 

PS I wouldn't bet that the bear hunt goes on for very long, either.

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Feet is wise. He knows stuff and more importantly, he knows what the implications of all those words are.

 

 

Christie is absolutely right on at least one account: Building a complex development project can be a frustrating, time consuming, and expensive process.

Maybe that's because all of the land that was well suited for development is already built out, and now, in order to foster economic growth (which is measured by new development), we have to fill in wetlands, and build on lands requiring extensive alterations that are marginal at best.

 

There's no doubt about it, NJDEP could use some good old fashioned house cleaning. The processes need to be better defined, evenly regulated and streamlined, but that shouldn't mean that every proposal gets a "green light" without very careful scrutiny to determine what effects the new development will have on infrastructures that are already failing. How many houses do you need to build in your town before all the taxpayers have to foot the bill for a new 15 million dollar school and staff to support it?

 

 

In the end, maybe aspects of the current beach access rules need to be changed, but allowing every municipality to write their own public access policies is dangerous. That should be plain enough for anyone to see.

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