ASSEMBLY, No. 2286
STATE OF NEW JERSEY
INTRODUCED SEPTEMBER 16, 1996
By Assemblymen GARCIA and CARABALLO
An Act concerning public access to coastal beaches, supplementing Title 40 of the Revised Statutes, and amending P.L.1955, c.49.
Be It Enacted by the Senate and General Assembly of the State of New Jersey:
1. As used in this act:
"Coastal beach" means any gently sloping area of sand or other unconsolidated material, found on tidal shorelines, including ocean and bay shorelines that extend landward from the mean high water line to either the seaward or bayward foot of dunes, whichever is closest to the bay, inlet or ocean waters, or to a man-made feature generally parallel to the ocean, inlet, or bay waters such as a retaining structure, seawall, bulkhead, road or boardwalk, except that the sandy areas that extend fully under and landward of an elevated boardwalk shall be considered part of coastal beach areas. The term "coastal beach" shall not include any beaches on lakes, rivers or their tributaries;
"Person" means any individual and shall not include corporations, governmental units or agencies, or organizations; and
"Public coastal beach" means any coastal beach owned by a municipality, a county or the State.
2. Notwithstanding the provisions of any law, or any rules or regulations adopted pursuant thereto, to the contrary, no municipality or county, or the State, or any agency thereof, shall charge a person a fee for access to or use of a public coastal beach.
3. The Department of Environmental Protection, pursuant to the "Administrative Procedure Act," P.L.1968, c.410 (C.52:14B-1 et seq.), may adopt any rules or regulations necessary for the management of lands owned by the State that are affected by this act.
4. No provision of this act shall be construed to restrict the State from charging fees for access to State parks that do not include a public coastal beach, or for parking or other services provided at State parks that do include a public coastal beach. No provision of this act shall be construed to restrict a municipality or a county from charging fees for parking or other services provided at or near public coastal beaches.
5. Section 1 of P.L.1955, c.49 (C.40:61-22.20) is amended to read as follows:
1. 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 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; and the municipality may by ordinance provide that no fees, or reduced fees, shall be charged to persons 65 or more years of age and to persons who meet the disability criteria for disability benefits under Title II of the federal Social Security Act (42 U.S.C. §401 et seq.). ] No such municipality may charge or collect fees for the registration of persons using the lands and bathing facilities, for access to the beach and bathing and recreational grounds or for the use of the bathing and recreational facilities, except as provided pursuant to P.L. , c. (C. )(now before the Legislature as this bill).
(cf: P.L.1992,c.195, s.1.)
6. This act shall take effect on the first day of January following enactment.
This bill prohibits any municipality or county, or the State, from charging a person a fee for access to or use of a public coastal beach. Municipal, county and State agencies are also prohibited from charging such fees. The bill also repeals current law that allows municipalities to charge such fees.
The bill defines a public coastal beach as a coastal beach owned by a municipality or county or the State. Beaches on lakes, rivers and their tributaries are specifically excluded. The bill defines "person" as any individual and does not include corporations, governmental units or agencies, or organizations.
Finally, the bill authorizes the Department of Environmental Protection to adopt any rules or regulations necessary for the management of lands owned by the State affected by this bill and allows fees to be charged by a municipality, a county or the State for parking or other services provided at or near public coastal beaches.
This bill seeks to provide State residents with free access to one of the State's most beautiful and precious resources, the New Jersey Shore. California, a state known for its beaches and beautiful coast line, has had a long tradition of free access to its beaches and prohibits charging any walk-on fees on any beach.
Prohibits charging fees for access or use of public beaches.