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Property owner wants to block public access in Loveladies

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By MaryAnn Spoto | NJ Advance Media for *******


on October 24, 2014 at 7:18 AM, updated October 24, 2014 at 7:49 AM



LONG BEACH TOWNSHIP —When Long Beach Township officials asked Robert Minke and his relatives to sign over some of their oceanfront property rights for the federal government to build a protective dune, the family was fine with the idea.


But when the township decided to use the south end of their property in the affluent Loveladies section as a public access road to the beach, that’s when the Minke family balked.


In a lawsuit filed in state Superior Court on Wednesday, the family contends the township went too far in trying to create a beach access road, which they say will turn their otherwise private spot into a public beach.


“They’re perfectly willing to allow the construction of a dune, but they refuse to allow a public beach on property they pay a significant amount of money for,” said John Buonocore Jr., attorney for the family. “They’re willing to (sign the easement) provided it only relates to the dune, not to the creation of a public beach.”


Loveladies, on the northern end of Long Beach Island in Ocean County, is one of the quieter sections of the island where beachfront lots are generally 125 feet wide.


But it also has been cited by environmental advocates as one of the worst spots for public access to the oceanfront in New Jersey because the beach is tucked behind a wall of expansive homes and private roads.


In the lawsuit, the Minkes, who bought the oceanfront house in 2010, said the township in August arbitrarily sited the 10-foot-wide public access point on their property, which is assessed at $4 million.


The case highlights the ongoing disputes over oceanfront property ownership in New Jersey where some residents own up to a certain point of the beach and the public is allowed on the section closer to the water. But where public access has been limited, some beaches have become almost private because few people go there.


The Minkes said the township in March initially picked a spot that had more space for public parking and was nearly equidistant from other access points.


But the area around the Minkes’ property doesn’t have as much parking and is relatively close to another public access point, which runs counter to what the town is trying to accomplish, Buonocore said.


Mayor Joseph Mancini said that to get the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers to agree to a badly needed replenishment of township beaches, the town has been required to improve its public access in Loveladies and in North Beach – another affluent section similar to Loveladies – by creating two more public access points in each section.


In an ordinance approved on Sept. 26, the township designated the Minkes’ property as one of the four sites to be used for public access. And on Oct. 6, the township passed a resolution starting condemnation proceedings, according to the lawsuit.


Buonocore contends the Army Corps does not require beaches to be open to the public in order to receive beach replenishment. He argued the beaches merely have to offer public access.


“The Army Corps never made that a requirement of their funding,” he said. “They’re not talking about access along the beach. They’re talking about access to the beach.”


But Mancini said he was told something different.


“If we don’t give (the Army Corps) the four easements, we don’t get the beach projects,” he said. “If this is their specs, I respect that because the federal government will be picking up the tab.”


Mancini said the decision to designate the Minkes’ access road as public wasn’t arbitrary. He said township officials picked their access spot over one initially chosen because it has fewer property owners who have stakes in the easements. That means the township would have to negotiate with fewer people, Mancini said.


As with other properties in Loveladies, the Minkes and their neighbors share easements. On the Minkes’ property, there’s an access road to the beach that they and their immediate neighbors share and the Minkes share their neighbors’ gravel road to get to their beachfront home, Buonocore and Mancini said.


“This is not going to create a public beach. That’s not my intention,” Mancini said. “This is public access.”


The mayor said the oceanfront in front of the Minkes’ house won’t turn into a public beach. He said most day trippers don’t head to Loveladies because there are no public restrooms or snack stands.


“That’s assuming that anybody’s going to use it. We cut in a paper street in Loveladies two years ago,” he said. “That was a big brouhaha but I think only three people use it.”

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The entitlement these people have is sickening. I agree with sudsy and have said for years... Why the hell are we paying for "their" beaches to be repaired and manicured?!?


I recently had one of these nitwits tell me that its not right what the EPA is dong to her for extending her property into the Navesink... Are you EFFING kidding me?!? Who are you to decide its OK to encroach on a natural waterway or any other piece of property. She said the EPA sited the fact that he property borders a a large mudflat that hosts many different species of shellfish and they happen to thrive there. Her response was "who cares a bout a few clams? They'll move anyway!" Morons!

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