A ruling by the New Jersey Appellate court on December 23 invalidated NJ Department of Environment Protection rules that give municipalities more power to determine their own public access plans, stating that DEP was not authorized to promulgate the rules under the public trust document.
On Thursday, January 7, the Senate Environment and Energy Committee Chairman called an emergency hearing to consider S-3321 that would reinstate DEP’s authorization “to require public access to waterfront and adjacent shoreline as condition of waterfront development approvals and CAFRA permits.”
Margot Walsh, executive director, Jersey Shore Partnership, testified for passage of the bill that will avert a threat to the future of public access and the continuation of federal funding for beach protection.
The Committee hearing was held to specifically address passage of bill S-3321Committee. Chair Smith will convene an adhoc committee to review the current DEP regulations for possible amendments.
The DEP is prepared to go to litigation if the proposed legislation is not approved.