DEAL-A plan by the borough council is under fire by the New Jersey Chapter of the Surfrider Organization. The organization is claiming that beaches aren’t the only thing here that need cleaning, but so does a new ordinance that could allocate public funds to beaches that are off limits to the general public.
According to Andrew L. Chambarry, Esq., representing the public, “The Borough of Deal has proposed their most sinister parking plan to date. They want to charge the public for parking passes which would fund the purchase of a beach sweeping machine. The machine will be used to clean beaches that you can’t access.”
At a public meeting on April 5, 2017, the Borough of Deal introduced Ordinance #1143 which would require permit parking during the summer months on five streets (Monmouth Terrace, Monmouth Drive, Hathaway, Sydney and Neptune Ave) with two vital beach access points for a cost of $100 for the summer or $50 per month.
“Mayor Cohen also said, and this is a direct quote from the public hearing, that this ordinance is the lesser of two evils,” said Harry Chambarry. “So he admits that the ordinance is evil.”
A release by the organization read:
At the meeting, Mayor Cohen said it best, “If you want easier public access, you’re going to have to pay!” The Borough wants the public to pay $100 for a parking permit that won’t guarantee a space. They won’t restrict beachfront residents from purchasing permits and parking on the street to keep you away. They won’t admit that restricting parking is restricting access. They have no plan for ADA access or handicapped parking. They have no plan for increased traffic west of Ocean Ave. They want to push Ordinance #1143 through.
Worst of all is the Borough’s reasoning behind the Ordinance. They plan to purchase a $100,000 “beach sweep” machine to clean the beaches. Sounds great right? Wrong. Deal has notoriously horrible public access. Many of the street ends lead to dead-ends where access points should be. These street ends were vacated by the Borough in the 1980’s and early 1990’s to benefit adjacent homeowners and create private beaches. In essence, the Borough wants to charge you for a permit to fund beach cleaning equipment for beaches that you can’t enjoy.
The borough tried to pass similar ordinances in October 2015 and June 2016 restricting access. Those ordinances were tabled after they were met with fierce opposition. Ordinance #1143 is another slap in the face to local taxpayers, given that Deal’s beaches were recently the benefactor of a $40 million taxpayer-funded beach restoration project by the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers.
It’s clear to everyone that the Borough intends to keep surfers, fisherman and the general public away from what they consider to be “their” private beaches. We have a right to access and enjoy the shoreline under New Jersey law. We can’t allow the Borough of Deal to restrict access to beaches that we all paid for.