Tougher Shore Development Rules Face Setback
May 15th, 2000 by Tim Evans
- The Jersey Shore faces intense development pressures. South Jersey coastal towns grew by 10 percent in population from 1990 to 1998 — double the statewide growth rate of 5 percent. (Based on population growth of shoreline municipalities in Ocean, Burlington, Atlantic, and Cape May counties.)
- Seven in 10 New Jerseyans feel the Jersey Shore is at risk from growth and development. Nearly two-thirds would prefer to have shore development managed by a state plan.
- Residents of coastal counties are even stronger in their support for state management, preferring it by 70 percent to today’s shore growth patterns.
Although New Jerseyans overwhelmingly support tougher controls on shore development, a group of Republican Assemblymen last week voted to reject more stringent rules adopted last December.
In a move that could pave the way for greater and faster development of New Jersey’s shore, Republican Assemblymen Gregg, O’Toole and Carroll cast the deciding committee votes May 8 in favor of a resolution called ACR-29. If passed by the Assembly and the Senate, the resolution would require the Department of Environmental Protection to amend or withdraw its new CAFRA rules within 30 days; or the Legislature could pass another resolution barring part or all of them from taking effect. The Governor cannot veto such resolutions.
Bill Co-Sponsor Kenneth LeFevre defended his resolution May 8 by observing that people want more McDonald’s and strip malls at the shore.
New Jerseyans clearly said otherwise in a public poll on shore development commissioned last summer by New Jersey Future. Residents of coastal counties were especially strident in their support for state management of coastal development.
The courts could also play a role in deciding CAFRA’s future. Some 10 lawsuits are pending concerning the new rules, filed by environmentalists who think the new regulations aren’t tough enough, and by developers who think they’re too tough.
ACR-29 would keep New Jersey from ever finding out.
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B. Tim Evans, NJF Research Director