Officials considering lowering ocean dunes

    In an effort to revive Atlantic City’s boardwalk business, politicians say tourists need to get a clear view of the ocean.

    Atlantic City politicians are proposing to cut down the height of sand dunes along the boardwalk. The dunes are ecologically important buffers that protect the city from storms and floods. But they also might be bad for business.

    The dunes were built about a decade ago at a height of 14.5 feet. Wind and grasses have built them up to the point where people on the boardwalk can’t see over them to the ocean beyond.

    Polistina: We have a coastal destination tourism resort and with that we should be able to have a view of the coast.

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    Assemblyman Vince Polistina says businesses would benefit if tourists could get that oceanview. Kevin Hall, the spokesman for Atlantic City’s mayor, says reducing the dunes will help the city compete with copycat casino destinations.

    Hall: The one thing they might not be able to replicate is what we have along the coast which is our beach. And now many people who travel along the world famous Atlantic City boardwalk cannot see the ocean because of these dunes.

    New Jersey’s Department of Environmental Protection will consider the impacts of lowering the dunes.

    Jeff Tittel, the director of the New Jersey Sierra Club, says he’s open to hearing whether there’s a safe way to reduce the dunes.

    Tittel: Personally, I think keeping the dunes in place is the most prudent thing to do for coastal protection but there may be a way to reinforce the dunes and lower them a little bit so that there’s a little bit better view.

    The Atlantic City mayor’s office did not know how much the project would cost.

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