Ordinance in Jersey Shore town would further restrict beach parking during summer
Trying to get a parking spot by the beach is already tight at the Jersey Shore, and the town of Deal wants to further restrict parking on five streets by making one side permit-only.
Opponents say it's just the latest effort to restrict public beach access and cater to local homeowners.
“So, for the past few years, it seems like every year, it seems like clockwork, Deal tries to restrict parking only on this ocean block near the beach and we fought it back every year,” says John Weber, with the Surfrider Foundation.
Weber says the Surfrider Foundation is ready to fight the latest ordinance in Deal. The ordinance would restrict public parking to one side of the street on Monmouth Drive, Hathaway Avenue, Sydney Avenue, Neptune Avenue and Monmouth Terrace. The other half would be permits for homeowners. It would take effect Fridays through Sundays, Memorial Day weekend through Labor Day weekend during daylight hours.
An attorney for the town says the ordinance was drafted because of local homeowners concerned about parking availability near their land. Weber disagrees.
“There is plenty of parking west of Ocean Avenue,” says Weber. “They should find plenty of parking for any of these guests of any of these residences who want to come here. I just want to point out all these houses have driveways, they've got big driveways. They can fit many, many cars in there. There should be plenty of parking for everybody."
Past efforts to restrict parking in Deal include October 2015, when an ordinance restricting parking on six oceanfront streets from May to October to permit-only was tabled. In June 2016, an ordinance restricting parking to permits on one side was also tabled. In April 2017, an ordinance requiring permits at a cost of $100 or $50 for full or half season was also tabled.
“All these local groups, fishing groups, surfing groups, we've all been at this every year. My question now is where is the state?” says Weber. “Why can't the state step in and say he just can't do this? They got publicly funded beach replenishment. So, there needs to be access to the public. So, we can't take away half the parking by just saying one side of the street is residents-only. That just doesn't make sense.
An attorney representing the groups has also reached out to the DEP, calling for a state investigation. The town hopes to have the parking ordinance on the books by Memorial Day weekend.