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Re: DEP Hosting Public Hearing on Proposed Waterfront Access Rules Thursday in Jersey City - May 12th
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50 people turn up at DEP Jersey City hearing to unanimously blast proposals for municipality control of waterfront access

Friday, May 13, 2011
By CHARLES HACK
JOURNAL STAFF WRITER

Every speaker who stepped up to the microphone at a state hearing held in Jersey City yesterday blasted state proposals to allow municipalities to determine what access the public gets to New Jersey waterfronts.

Roughly 50 people - including representatives fishing, sports, environmental and open space advocacy groups - attended the meeting held by the state Department of Environmental Protection at the Central Railroad of New Jersey Terminal at Liberty State Park.

Some 20 speakers told Ray Cantor, chief advisor to DEP Commissioner Robert Martin, that if current state rules that mandate public access to the waterfronts are weakened, the interests of developers and rich property owners will trump the rights of ordinary taxpayers.

Developers who built the Jersey City waterfront only gave public access along the Hudson River Waterfront Walkway "thanks to the kind of clear, unmistakable public access requirements" that the DEP now seems ready to jettison," Hudson County Executive Tom DeGise said.

"For many in our county with limited means and little recreational time, the local shoreline is their best chance to experience the beauty of a waterfront vista or take a break from the congestion that is a fact of urban life," he added.

Captain Bill Sheehan, the Hackensack River-keeper, urged DEP to stop "monkeying around" with the rules that are in place "and live up to their real mission to protect the waterways of New Jersey."

Helen Manogue, president of the Hudson River Waterfront Conservancy, said the proposed rules - which include a provision to allow condo associations to restrict hours of access to waterfront property they own - would put a "hammer right down" on public rights for 24/7 access to the Hudson River Waterfront Walkway.

Cantor said the state was forced to rewrite the rules after a 2008 appeals court ruled that the state did not have authority over such things as locating parking and restrooms near beaches. He pointed out that any access plans drawn up by municipalities would have to be approved by the state.

"This was not designed as a giveaway to municipalities, but to give them more leeway in applying access to the waterfront than before," he said. "It will provide more access, we believe, than they (local residents) have right now."

The DEP is holding three more such hearings before the end of the month. Yesterday's was the only scheduled hearing for Hudson County.

DEP has the power to enact these changes without consent of the Legislature and it is expected to take action later this year.

Posted on: 2011/5/13 16:06
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Re: DEP Hosting Public Hearing on Proposed Waterfront Access Rules Thursday in Jersey City - May 12th
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Posted on: 2011/5/13 14:13
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Re: DEP Hosting Public Hearing on Proposed Waterfront Access Rules Thursday in Jersey City - May 12th
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Should be a heavy turn out at 11am when everyone is working.

Posted on: 2011/5/12 4:25
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DEP Hosting Public Hearing on Proposed Waterfront Access Rules Thursday in Jersey City - May 12th
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see info after article on submitting public comment -


http://www.jerseycityindependent.com/ ... -thursday-in-jersey-city/

By Jon Whiten ? May 11th, 2011 ? Category: Blog, News

The New Jersey Department of Environmental Protection (DEP) is hosting a public hearing Thursday in Jersey City on the Christie administration?s proposed revision to the state?s waterfront access rules.

The rules have come under harsh criticism from environmental groups for reducing public access to urban waterfronts, as well as state beaches. Under the proposal, most waterfront activities would be exempted from public access requirements, including commercial, industrial and public development. All port facilities would be completely exempt from public access requirements. In addition, environmentalists contend the proposed rules define ?homeland security? so vaguely they exempt almost any business on a waterway from access requirements.

?The DEP alleges that these proposed rules provide ?reasonable? waterfront access but, in fact, the rules do not detail how any access will be provided,? NY/NJ Baykeeper executive director Debbie Mans said when the proposed changes were unveiled in April. ?This rollback would allow private businesses to use public resources without appropriate compensation to the citizens of New Jersey.?

The Christie administration proposal seeks to alter a 2007 rule that forced any DEP-permitted activity at a waterfront business to trigger public access requirements. If that public access is not practical because of security or safety concerns, the business may instead contribute to a fund to enhance public access in another appropriate area, such a waterfront park.

?The progress we have made as a state towards enjoying our urban waterfronts is literally being destroyed before our eyes,? Hackensack Riverkeeper captain Bill Sheehan said in April. Sheehan?s group contends that the rules will particularly harm residents in Jersey City and other urban areas, where gaining waterfront access has been a long, hard fight.

Written comments on the proposed rules are also being accepted by the DEP until June 3. Individuals wishing to submit comments on the record may do so by addressing them to:

Gary Brower, Esq.
NJDEP Office of legal Affairs
401 E. State St., 4th Floor
PO Box 402
Trenton, NJ 08625-0402

ATTN: DEP Docket No. 05-11-03

THE DETAILS

Hearing on Proposed Waterfront Access Rules; Thursday May 12 at 11 am; Liberty State Park vistors? center in the CRRNJ Terminal at the end of Audrey Zapp Drive.

from Captain Bill Sheehan, Hacksack Riverkeeper - http://www.hackensackriverkeeper.org/Spring%202011%20Extra.pdf

Posted on: 2011/5/12 4:03
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