Deal drops residents-only beach parking rule, opponents declare victory
A much-maligned ordinance to only allow Deal residents to park near that community's beaches during the summer as been tabled.
The move was announced on the borough's Website Thursday. It wasn't clear of the borough's commission might take up the ordinance at another time.
"The mayor has agreed that this ordinance will limit public access and has promised to work with us in the future to find better solutions to any 'issues' that the town may face regarding the beaches," wrote Andrew Chambarry, an attorney who started a petition to defeat the ordinance. As of Thursday, the petition had more than 3,300 signatures.
Deal's Mayor Morris Ades could not be reached immediately Thursday.
Chambarry said if the ordinance comes up again, "I will be personally notified and we will again, take up action."
The proposal came as the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers is finishing a nearly $40 million beach replenishment project to drastically widen Deal's beaches. Beach access advocates had complained the borough has long discouraged outsiders from using its beaches, even though New Jersey's public trust doctrine guarantees access.
It would have limited parking on six streets to residents from 8 a.m. to 8 p.m., from May 1 through Oct. 31.
“We have concerns (that) it may impact public access, and it could conflict with the agreement signed with the U.S. Army Corps project,” DEP spokesman Bob Considine told the Associated Press earlier this week. “We also simply want to ensure that we work toward providing more public access and not limiting access.”
Deal, which is located in central New Jersey just north of Asbury Park, has a mile of beaches, but swimming is permitted at only about 1,300 feet of it, at a private beach club and one open to the public.
Chambarry wrote on his petition the "fight is not over."
"We must all stay vigilant and raise awareness so that this will never happen again," he wrote. "We will still be attending the Town Hall tomorrow to thank Deal for tabling the Ordinance, but also show our strength and concern over their actions."
The Associated Press Contributed to this story.
Louis C. Hochman is digital managing editor for NJ1015.com. Reach him at firstname.lastname@example.org or on Twitter @LouisCHochman.