clearn.png
Tuesday August 20th, 2019 3:30AM

New Jersey lawmakers recalling Roman empire in beach fight

By The Associated Press
Related Articles
  Contact Editor

MANTOLOKING, N.J. (AP) — New Jersey lawmakers are reaching back to the Roman empire in their latest effort to guarantee public access to the shoreline and end some shore towns' long history of trying to keep outsiders off their beaches.

State lawmakers have introduced a new beach access bill that writes the Public Trust Doctrine into law and directs the state Department of Environmental Protection to apply it to coastal land use and funding decisions.

The doctrine is a legal concept dating to the time of the Emperor Justinian stating that oceans, bays and rivers are held in a trust for the public, which has the right to swim in them, or sit or walk along their shores.

Though it has been cited in several groundbreaking court cases involving beach access over the decades, the doctrine has been open to differing interpretations. The current bill actually incorporates the doctrine into state law, something environmentalists have wanted for years.

"It's a very strong guarantee of the right of the public to access beaches and waterways," said Tim Dillingham, executive director of the American Littoral Society.

But the bill to be heard Monday in a state Senate committee does not restore coast-wide standards for how closely public access points should be located along the shore. Under the administration of former Democratic Gov. Jon Corzine, there had to be public access points every quarter-mile.

Those standards were struck down in a court decision as too intrusive for local governments and marina owners. Corzine's successor, Republican Chris Christie, largely left it to individual shore towns to decide what level of access was right for them.

Despite most of the beaches receiving taxpayer money to widen and maintain them, some shore towns have used a variety of tactics to discourage outsiders from coming to their shores. This included charging as much as $12 to use the beach for a single day, severely restricted or nonexistent parking near the beach; the lack of restrooms and showers; a ban on food and drinks on the beach, and physical barriers preventing the public from reaching the sand.

Bay Head had to be sued in order to end its 1980s policy of only selling beach badges to borough residents. And Mantoloking only last year dropped its rules limiting on-street parking on most streets to two hours when forced to by the federal government, which is spending millions of dollars to restore the borough's beaches that were devastated by Superstorm Sandy in 2012.

A clause in the bill that defines public access also says it includes public parking and restrooms. The bill also requires more of marinas, including allowing the public onto a beach that is part of marina property.

The business community got one of its main wishes in the bill through a clause that exempts critical infrastructure, like waterfront chemical or nuclear power plants, from public access requirements.

"I don't think anyone thinks it's a good idea to let someone paddle their canoe right up to the Salem nuclear power plant," said Michael Egenton, vice president of the New Jersey Chamber of Commerce. "The bill recognizes that there are critical homeland security facilities that should not be trespassed on."

The bill also leaves a sizeable loophole in a proposal that local towns incorporate public waterway access into their master plans, requiring it only "where appropriate."

Frank Marshall, an attorney with the New Jersey League of Municipalities, said some towns oppose heavy state involvement in local coastal decisions.

"It's so localized that you can't have a set number" of access points, he said. "To set a hard and fast standard is too difficult."

___

Follow Wayne Parry at http://twitter.com/WayneParryAC

  • Associated Categories: U.S. News, Associated Press (AP), AP National News, Top U.S. News short headlines, AP Online Headlines - Washington, AP Online Congress News, AP Business, AP Business - Industries, AP Business - Utilities
© Copyright 2019 AccessWDUN.com
All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed without permission.
The Latest: Putin pleased with ruling on Russian doping
Vladimir Putin says he is pleased with the legal ruling that lifted the Olympic doping bans for 28 Russian athletes
10:58AM ( 18 minutes ago )
Doctors warn of heart risk from some breast cancer therapies
Health experts are stepping up warnings that certain breast cancer treatments may harm the heart
10:47AM ( 29 minutes ago )
January US auto sales expected to rise only a little
January U.S. auto sales are expected to grow just a little as rebates and other deals wane after a December buying spree
10:42AM ( 34 minutes ago )
Associated Press (AP)
GOP lawmakers put medical skills to work after train crash
Republican members of Congress with medical experience put their skills to work after a train carrying dozens of them crashed into a garbage truck in rural Virginia, killing one person in the truck and injuring others
10:01AM ( 1 hour ago )
Turn on the tap: EU acts to improve water, reduce plastic
The EU is revamping its water quality rules to take into account possible new health hazards and limit plastic waste by discouraging people from drinking bottled water
9:44AM ( 1 hour ago )
Top career US diplomat to step down in blow to State Dept
The top career U.S. diplomat is stepping down, dealing a blow to the State Department as the Trump administration confronts numerous international challenges
9:27AM ( 1 hour ago )
AP National News
Polish Senate backs controversial Holocaust speech law
Poland's Senate has backed legislation regulating Holocaust speech that has sparked a diplomatic dispute with Israel and calls from the United States for a reconsideration of a bill seen as threatening freedom of speech
10:00AM ( 1 hour ago )
Pence touts tax cuts, slams Manchin in West Virginia
Vice President Mike Pence is in West Virginia, touting Republican tax cuts while slamming the state's Democratic Sen. Joe Manchin
9:46AM ( 1 hour ago )
The Latest: Poland says Holocaust law designed to aid truth
Poland's Foreign Ministry says the new legislation to regulate Holocaust speech is intended to "fight all forms of denying and distorting the truth about the Holocaust."
8:58AM ( 2 hours ago )
AP Online Headlines - Washington
Trump administration officials fan out to sell tax overhaul
Trump administration deploys vice president, Cabinet officials and staff as well as president himself to convince Americans that the Republican tax overhaul was a good idea
12:27AM ( 10 hours ago )
Cannabis capitalists exploit loopholes by 'gifting' the drug
'Gifting' ganja: Companies exploit laws intended to allow adults to give small amounts to each other
12:21AM ( 10 hours ago )
GOP lawmakers put medical skills to work after train crash
Republican members of Congress with medical experience put their skills to work after a train carrying dozens of them crashed into a garbage truck in rural Virginia, killing one person in the truck and injuring others
11:08PM ( 12 hours ago )
AP Online Congress News
Dutch watchdog urges slash to gas extraction to limit quakes
A mining watchdog is advising the Dutch government to significantly decrease the amount of gas extracted from the northeastern Groningen region, saying a cut is necessary to reduce the risk of damage caused by earthquakes triggered by the extraction
10:23AM ( 52 minutes ago )
US construction spending up 0.7 percent in December
US construction spending up 0.7 percent to record high in December, fifth straight monthly gain
10:23AM ( 53 minutes ago )
Starbucks launches credit card, hoping to jolt sales
Starbucks has a new product that it hopes will hook more coffee lovers: a credit card
10:12AM ( 1 hour ago )
AP Business
Global markets mixed after Fed keeps rate unchanged
Global markets are trading mixed after the Federal Reserve left its benchmark interest rate unchanged
8:08AM ( 3 hours ago )
Profitable Daimler expects heavy spending on new tech
German automaker Daimler AG says net profit rose 24 percent to a record 10.9 billion euros last year, helped by strong sales of its Mercedes-Benz SUVs and new E-Class luxury sedan
6:13AM ( 5 hours ago )
Dutch mining watchdog urges major cut in gas extraction
A mining watchdog is advising the Dutch government to significantly decrease the amount of gas extracted from the northeastern Groningen region, saying a cut is necessary to reduce the risk of damage caused by earthquakes triggered by the extraction
5:07AM ( 6 hours ago )
AP Business - Industries
Stocks give up an early gain, veer lower in afternoon trade
U.S. stocks are veering mostly lower in afternoon trading, giving back gains from earlier in the day
3:12PM ( 20 hours ago )
AP FACT CHECK: Trump's claims in his State of Union address
AP FACT CHECK: Trump's State of the Union statements under scrutiny
1:51PM ( 21 hours ago )
Earnings drive gains for US stocks in afternoon trading
Stocks are moving higher in afternoon trading after several big U.S. companies reported strong quarterly results
1:36PM ( 21 hours ago )
AP Business - Utilities
The Latest: Putin pleased with ruling on Russian doping
Vladimir Putin says he is pleased with the legal ruling that lifted the Olympic doping bans for 28 Russian athletes
10:58AM ( 18 minutes ago )
Doctors warn of heart risk from some breast cancer therapies
Health experts are stepping up warnings that certain breast cancer treatments may harm the heart
10:47AM ( 29 minutes ago )
January US auto sales expected to rise only a little
January U.S. auto sales are expected to grow just a little as rebates and other deals wane after a December buying spree
10:42AM ( 34 minutes ago )
Dallas man to die for killing daughters while mom listened
A former Dallas accountant condemned for fatally shooting his two young daughters while their mother listened helplessly on the phone is looking to the U.S. Supreme Court to spare his life
10:40AM ( 35 minutes ago )
Uhlaender: 'The integrity of sport' at stake over doping
Katie Uhlaender, who had been waiting for an Olympic medal that seems most unlikely to come her way, is now seeking something more
10:30AM ( 46 minutes ago )