NJ will try again to require beach access as condition to building

 (Alan Tu/WHYY)

(Alan Tu/WHYY)

Two New Jersey lawmakers are moving forward with legislation that would restore the state’s right to require public access to its beaches and waterways.

The bill being introduced Thursday by Democratic Senators Bob Smith and Jeff Van Drew comes in response to a Dec. 22 court ruling that struck down the state Environmental Protection Department’s authority to require beach access as a condition of waterfront development.

It would explicitly give the DEP legislative authority to impose beach access requirements.

The challenge was brought by environmental groups claiming the previous rules wrongly turned parts of the shoreline over to private property owners and corporations.

But other groups say that by throwing out the access rules, the court endangered public access to all beaches and waterways by leaving no rules in place.

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