Deal officials introduced a new seasonal parking permit ordinance for streets bordering its waterfront on Wednesday that has many calling it a move against the Public Trust Doctrine, which grants public access and use to the waterfront.
The local statute will require all parked cars to have a permit between the hours of 10 a.m. and 6 p.m. along the entirety of Monmouth Terrace, and from Ocean Avenue east to Monmouth Terrace along Monmouth Drive, Hathaway, Sydney and Neptune avenues.
While similar legislation was introduced and subsequently pulled in October 2015 and June 2016, this time around the regulation stipulates that all cars, whether belonging to a resident or borough visitor will need a permit to park on the aforementioned roadways.
Borough officials said the permit parking revenue will be used to purchase a beach cleaning machine [estimated at $100,000] as well as for maintenance of the waterfront area.
“This money will go toward cleaning the beach,” Borough Administrator Stephen R. Carasia said. “It will be used to purchase garbage cans and to pay tipping fees at the Monmouth County Reclamation Center.”
There will be no limit on the number of permits issued, Carasia said.
This will be the governing body’s third attempt at mitigating parking in the waterfront area but the grassroots Citizens In Opposition to Beach Restrictive Access [COBRA] is gearing up to fight the proposed law.
“The Borough of Deal has proposed their most sinister parking plan to date,” said Andrew Chambarry of the Jersey Shore Chapter of Surfrider Foundation. “They want to charge the public for parking passes which would fund the purchase of a [$100,000] beach sweeping machine. The equipment will be used to clean beaches that you can’t access.”
The borough does not have a beach utility and there are no fees to access its beaches. The permits will cost $100 for the season [Labor Day to Memorial Day] or $50 per month.
“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.”
“Many of the street ends lead to dead-ends where access points should be,” he said. “These street ends were vacated by the Borough in the 1980’s and early 1990’s to benefit the 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.”
Borough officials have said the public is permitted on the beach from water’s edge to the high tide mark.
“[This] ordinance 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 this ordinance will keep surfers, fisherman and the general public away from what the Borough considers to be ‘their beaches.’ This time, they want you to pay to clean these beaches by purchasing parking permits.”
COBRA has launched a writing campaign, asking the public to submit letters of opposition to the NJDEP, NJ Coastal Management Office, the US Army Corps of Engineers, as well as local and state government officials.
A host of area residents and members of environmental groups, including the American Littoral Society’s Tim Dillingham, spoke against the proposal during Wednesday’s meeting.
A hearing and vote on the proposed permit parking ordinance will be held 7:30 p.m. May 10 at the Board of Commissioners meeting in the Borough Hall meeting room, located at 190 Norwood Avenue.
[Photos in part courtesy of COBRA]
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