Do you think new DEP rules enhance or restrict beach access to communities?

    This week, the state Department of Environmental Protection adopted new rules that it says are meant to enhance entry to New Jersey’s beaches.

    According to a statement from the DEP, the changes will provide greater public access for fishermen across the state.

    “Providing ample access to our ocean beaches, bays and rivers is a fundamental right for all residents of New Jersey, and the driving force behind these rules,” DEP Commissioner Bob Martin said in a statement issued this week.

    What do you think of the DEP rules? Do you think they restrict beach access or enhance it? Tell us in the comments below.

    While the DEP says the amendments are meant to improve and enhance public access, some conservationists have said the new rules restrict beach access.

    According to a report from NJ Spotlight, conservationists feel the rules weaken the requirement for coastal developments to provide access to the public.

    “Only larger projects in fewer places will now have to provide access,” Tim Dillingham, executive director of the American Littoral Society told NJ Spotlight reporter Tom Johnson.

    The amendments include:

     Provide enhanced public access for recreational fishermen by ensuring that municipal public access plans include defined and guaranteed points of access for day and night fishing.

    Provide greater transparency and public involvement in development of municipal public access plans by ensuring that proposed access plans are posted on the DEP website and that the public has an opportunity to comment on them.

    Do not require marinas to expand access when improving existing facilities, but development on adjacent sites would require marina owners to provide public access plans

    Mandate public access to and along the main route of the Hudson Waterfront Walkway and adjacent piers on a 24-hour basis except in very limited circumstances, and requires conformance to existing Hudson Walkway design guidelines and standards.

    What do you think of the DEP rules? Do you think they restrict beach access or enhance it? Tell us in the comments below.

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