Senator MICHAEL J. DOHERTY
District 23 (Hunterdon, Somerset and Warren)
Senator STEPHEN M. SWEENEY
District 3 (Cumberland, Gloucester and Salem)
Requires shore municipalities accepting government funds for storm-damaged beach replenishment to provide free beach access and public toilet facilities.
CURRENT VERSION OF TEXT
An Act concerning requirements for accepting governmental assistance to replenish storm-damaged beaches and amending P.L.1955, c.49.
Be It Enacted by the Senate and General Assembly of the State of New Jersey:
1. Section 1 of P.L.1955, c.49 (C.40:61-22.20) is amended to read as follows:
1. a. The governing body of any municipality bordering on the Atlantic Ocean, tidal water bays or rivers which owns or shall acquire, by any deed of dedication or otherwise, lands bordering on the ocean, tidal water bays or rivers, or easement rights therein, for a place of resort for public health and recreation and for other public purposes shall have the exclusive control, government and care thereof and of any boardwalk, bathing and recreational facilities, safeguards and equipment, now or hereafter constructed or provided thereon, and may, by ordinance, make and enforce rules and regulations for the government and policing of such lands, boardwalk, bathing facilities, safeguards and equipment; provided, that such power of control, government, care and policing shall not be construed in any manner to exclude or interfere with the operation of any State law or authority with respect to such lands, property and facilities. [Any] Except as provided in subsection d. of this section, any such municipality may, in order to provide funds to improve, maintain and police the same and to protect the same from erosion, encroachment and damage by sea or otherwise, and to provide facilities and safeguards for public bathing and recreation, including the employment of lifeguards, by ordinance, make and enforce rules and regulations for the government, use, maintenance and policing thereof and provide for the charging and collecting of reasonable fees for the registration of persons using said lands and bathing facilities, for access to the beach and bathing and recreational grounds so provided and for the use of the bathing and recreational facilities, but no such fees shall be charged or collected from children under the age of 12 years.
b. A municipality may by ordinance provide that no fees, or reduced fees, shall be charged to:
(1) persons 65 or more years of age;
(2) persons who meet the disability criteria for disability benefits under Title II of the federal Social Security Act (42 U.S.C. s.401 et seq.);
(3) persons in active military service in any of the Armed Forces of the United States and to their spouse or dependent children over the age of 12 years; and
(4) persons who are active members of the New Jersey National Guard who have completed Initial Active Duty Training and to their spouse or dependent children over the age of 12 years. As used in this paragraph, "Initial Active Duty Training" means Basic Military Training, for members of the New Jersey Air National Guard, and Basic Combat Training and Advanced Individual Training, for members of the New Jersey Army National Guard.
c. A municipality providing for no fees or reduced fees pursuant to paragraph (3) or (4) of subsection b. of this section shall track, in a manner deemed appropriate by the governing body of the municipality, the number of persons who qualify under the provisions of those paragraphs.
d. (1) After November 1, 2012, any municipality that accepts federal or State grants or aid for the purpose of replenishing storm-damaged beaches shall not adopt or enforce ordinances to collect fees pursuant to subsection a. of this section.
(2) Every municipality that accepts federal or State grants or aid for the purpose of replenishing storm-damaged beaches shall be required to provide free public toilet facilities for persons using the beach during the period of time from Memorial Day weekend through Labor Day weekend.
(3) If the Director of the Division of Local Government Services in the Department of Community Affairs determines that a municipality is not complying with the provisions of this subsection, the director shall not approve the budget of that municipality, as required by N.J.S.40A:4-78, until the budget is properly amended, and may subject the members of the governing body to the penalty provisions of section 52 of P.L.1947, c. 151 (C.52:27BB-52).
(cf: P.L.2011, c.75, s.1)
2. This act shall take effect immediately and shall be retroactive to November 1, 2012.
This bill would prevent shore municipalities that accept federal or State aid to replenish their beaches damaged by storms from collecting beach fees, imposed through the sale of beach tags or otherwise. Municipalities with beach fee ordinances would not be authorized to enforce those ordinances and municipalities currently without beach fee ordinances could not adopt one. Further, municipalities accepting governmental beach replenishment aid for storm-damaged beaches would be required to provide free public toilet facilities during the summer tourism period, from Memorial Day weekend through Labor Day weekend. If a municipality violates the provisions of this bill, then the Director of the Division of Local Government Services would not approve its budget until amended to remove any appropriation for beach fee revenue and to appropriate funds for public toilet facilities. The director would also have the power to subject members of the municipal governing body to the penalty provisions of N.J.S.A.52:27BB-52, which include fines and possible jail time.