Judge: Belmar’s parking fee hike violated beachgoers’ civil rights

Parking costs $2 per hour on Ocean Avenue in Belmar

Parking costs $2 per hour on Ocean Avenue in Belmar

A judge has ruled that Belmar, New Jersey violated the civil rights of beachgoers because it raised oceanfront parking fees from $1 to $2 but didn’t use all the money for beach-related projects.

New Jersey State Superior Court Judge Katie Gummer told Belmar officials to restore the money to the account it uses to fund beach operations. The ruling issued Friday stems from a lawsuit that claimed beachgoers were being made to pay for municipal projects that wouldn’t necessarily benefit them.

Belmar Mayor Matt Doherty called the ruling “a bad decision” and said the borough plans to appeal.

Doherty has said the beach utility’s share of parking fees are not being used for non-beach related projects. Belmar splits the parking fees between its beach utility and the borough’s general fund.

Parking meter stations are installed along the boardwalk at each entrance and require you to pay $2 for one hour.  

Paid parking along the boardwalk is enforced from 8 a.m. to 7 p.m. everyday.

Want a digest of WHYY’s programs, events & stories? Sign up for our weekly newsletter.

It will take 126,000 members this year for great news and programs to thrive. Help us get to 100% of the goal.