New Jersey Governor Chris Christie's office was recently inundated with angry postcards and letters from people outraged by the looming enforcement of a rule that will limit beach lovers' access to the Jersey Shore.
The television show of the same name will still be available to anyone with cable access, but vacationers who want to visit the actual Jersey Shore may find their access limited by a rule from the New Jersey Department of Environmental Protection that allows local authorities to make beaches in their jurisdiction private or accessible only by permit or fee.
Some New Jersey residents claim that their taxes go toward the upkeep of the beaches, so they should have free access.
Regardless of the restrictions a community may impose upon its coastland, a New Jersey state policy gives anyone the right to swim in the shallow waters anywhere and walk or sit on the beach in any area up to the standard high-water mark.
The governor's office pointed out that the state has the right to defund any community that abuses its right to limit access to beaches. There presently are no access rules, given that they've been struck down, and we are not cutting back on access whatsoever, said Michael Drewniak, Christie's press secretary. Furthermore, the DEP is proposing rules that provide serious disincentives for towns that attempt to be restrictive. These are the facts.
Opponents say the new proposal, which rescinds an earlier rule requiring public access every quarter mile, violates the basic right to coastland that dates back to Ancient Rome.