Daily Fishing and Outdoor Report
Honorable Christopher Christie;
I read a comment in Jaymanntoday wherein it was stated that Governor Christie excoriated beachfront property owners “Gov went after easement holdouts in his typical brash way, saying that an ocean view is not worth the loss of lives and property. Of course, the easement holdouts are so into themselves they couldn’t care less about the lives and limbs of others.” Taking this from the local politicians is one thing but I would have thought that the governor would have been better informed about the easement issue.
While I am usually very entertained by Mr. Mann’s articles, I take issue with this characterization as well as that of many others. While I agree with Mr. Mann’s other comment that it would be unfair to saddle the property owners in the beach communities with all of the substantial expenses associated with maintaining and operating the beaches, subsidizing public beach access, as proposed by Senate President Stephen Sweeney (Senate bill S-2368), I strongly disagree that the insinuation that beachfront homeowners are greedy and selfish. To borrow from and to paraphrase two overused and often abused clichés no good intention is understood or appreciated and the good intention is often buried with the political demagoguery.
Access has always been freely given despite the fact that I was unaware that the State already has authority under the law, N.J.S.A. 12:6A-1, to enter private property to build and maintain shore protection projects, the State may “undertake any and all actions and work essential to the execution of this authorization and the powers granted hereby.” The proposed easement stated “…for use by the State of New Jersey and the Borough of Surf City, their representatives, agents, contractors and assigns to:
a. Construct, preserve, patrol, operate, maintain, repair, rehabilitate, and replace a public beach, dune system, and other erosion control and storm damage reduction measures together with appurtenances thereto----.” The specific language contains no restriction to prevent assignment of this easement to a developer or to limit what could be constructed on the easement area in connection with or appurtenant to a public beach. This language could allow future commercial construction in the easement when a feasibility study determines that commercialization may be desirable.
The bottom line is that this is not about “access to property” nor preserving an ocean view, this is all about preventing commercial development on the beaches of a residential beach community. To this goal I proposed a form of the easement which eliminated the language regarding construction on the dunes and assignment to a non-governmental agency. I would have signed the easement deed if it omitted some of this offensive language. I was not seeking any compensation. The offer was summarily rejected. The reason for my rejecting the easement proposed by the State was that I have attempted to preserve the environment that first attracted our family to Surf City and that we had hoped to continue to enjoy in the future.
Edmund V. McCann
McCann & McCann, Esqs.
Attorneys at Law of New Jersey
291 Main Street
Ridgefield Park, New Jersey 07660