A state appellate panel has ruled that a Sea Bright beach club must open its entire beach to nonmembers.

Sea Bright Beach Club (Sea Bright Beach Club)

In their ruling issued Friday, the judges said the public cannot be shut out because the beach in front of the Sea Bright Beach Club was created through beach replenishment funded by taxpayers.

The Star-Ledger  reports the ruling invalidates a 1993 agreement between the state Department of Environmental Protection and the beach club, which allowed the club to prevent nonmembers from sitting on the sand there.

The state had reached that agreement with the nine beach clubs in Sea Bright in exchange for easements along their oceanfront properties for a beach replenishment project that transformed Sea Bright beaches from a narrow strip to a wide sandy field.
(Copyright 2012 by The Associated Press.  All Rights Reserved.)