Attend a Public Hearing or Submit Comments on NJDEP's (No) Public Access Rules on Wed., April 18. Hearings in Avalon and Long Branch.
In Spring 2011, NJDEP proposed a new rule governing public access to New Jersey's waterfronts. The proposed rule was a complete surrender of NJDEP's duty under the Public Trust Doctrine to protect the public's access to the ocean and tidal waters. Public opposition to the rule was resounding.
On March 19, the NJDEP published its notice of substantial changes to the public access rule. The changes do not alter the NJ DEP's wholesale surrender to big-business interests on urban waterfronts. In fact, the NJ DEP did not even respond to the numerous comments on the urban waterfront access component of the rule. Neither hearing is in North Jersey where residents are negatively impacted by the urban component of the rule. The agency clearly wishes to avoid being criticized yet again for allowing urban residents to be locked out from their waterways.
The notice of substantial changes to the public access rule also fails to address the most basic problems with the originally proposed rule: that the rule lacks standards for the approval of municipal access plans which will result in a patchwork of access rules. The rules do not encourage or require expanded access and they protect existing access only to "the maximum extent practicable" with no definition of what that means. (Additionally, NJDEP's new waiver rule allows the NJDEP to ignore any of these rules should they present "an undue burden.")
The waterfront does not belong to industry or private developments, it belongs to the people. The NJDEP is the custodian of our rights and it is giving them away for free.
Wednesday, April 18, 2012, at Noon
Avalon Court Meeting Room
3100 Dune Drive
Avalon, New Jersey 08202
Wednesday, April 18, 2012, at 6 P.M.
Long Branch Council Chambers
344 Broadway, 2nd Floor
Long Branch, New Jersey 07740
Submit comments by May 18, 2012 at http://www.nj.gov/dep/rules/comments.
Please contact Elizabeth@nynjbaykeeper.org if you would like help preparing comments.