LAVALLETTE, NJ – Actor Joe Pesci, who for thirty years has owned a bayside home in Lavallette has joined his neighbors in their fight to get a grip on their neighbor’s huge dock. The huge dock protrudes far beyond those of the neighbors and now, the neighbors are suing.
“I have owned the residential property at 91 Pershing Boulevard on West Point Island in Lavallette since 1990. My property is on Barnegat Bay and includes a standard sized dock that extends approximately 120 feet into the water. I am writing to state my strong opposition to two applications currently pending before the NJ Department of Environmental Protection, filed by nearby homeowners seeking to extend their docks approximately 300 feet into the Bay,” Pesci said. “More than doubling the length of these docks undoubtedly would block views of the Bay currently enjoyed by other area homeowners. More importantly, these extensions also would force boaters, kayakers and paddlers in this area – which include children in addition to adults- to operate in waters far from land and, accordingly, in the wakes of large watercraft This is exactly what happened after the Department approved a similar extension to the dock at 83 Pershing Boulevard in or about 2018. That extension, which I continue to oppose, has impaired northern views of the Bay from my property, has negatively impacted the routes that boats travel when navigating the Bay, and has made the Bay less safe. If the Department approves the pending applications, it will only encourage other owners in this area to seek similar harmful extensions. As a 30-year resident of West Point Island, l respectfully ask the Department to take the opportunity to stop this trend now by denying the pending applications, before it is too late. Please feel free to share this letter with any relevant members of the Department.”
Pesci’s neighbor is under fire from residents in the neighborhood for flaunting his extremely huge dock. You may think it’s just a case of dock envy, but the neighbors contend the structure is too massive and long and will set an unsightly precedence in the community. What if everyone had a long dock him sticking out into the Barnegat Bay? With so many big docks protruding from the shoreline, those with little docks would have to navigate their way through a sea of big docks before reaching the high seas.
Laywer Philip G. Mylod, who represents landowner Janine Morris claims the dock problem is of great public importance as it pertains to property owners’ rights over the waterways adjacent to their lands known as “riparian rights”.
“The controversy arises out of a 2017 issuance of a permit for a dock extension off West Point Island, Lavallette, NJ. The particular dock in question was constructed by the owner of 83 Pershing Blvd, P.T. Jibsail, and from the aerial photo attached, you will see the length and intrusion into adjacent properties,” Myloyd said. “I have also attached two photos taken from our clients’ property which depict the massive intrusion into the bay area and the negative effect on property owners’ navigable waters to and from the channel as well as their view of the bay.”
“This excessively-sized dock also poses a risk of injury to boaters, jet skiers, and kayakers navigating in and around the channel and is, in our opinion, an accident waiting to happen. Additionally, we have included an edited photo depicting what the bay would look like if everyone in that area had docks the size of the P.T. Jibsail dock,” he added.
“It is obvious that if these docks are permitted for all West Point Island residents (there are currently two other pending applications for similar-sized docks), it will be a domino effect and become even more of a navigational nightmare, blocking some homeowners’ access to the channel entirely,” the lawyer added. “Many residents in the community including, notably, Joe Pesci, have opposed the structure as a hazard and nuisance to navigation and public safety”
Mylod represents the adjacent landowners, the Morris family, and the matter is currently slated for an additional hearing before the NJ Tidelands Bureau. The matter has been briefed for the New Jersey Attorney General’s office so they may provide guidance to the Tidelands Bureau.
“We anticipate the decision will have significant precedent in New Jersey,” Mylod said.