New Jersey increases pressure on homeowners group to allow beach access on Sundays

They want beach access to be coastal.

State officials increased pressure on the Ocean Grove homeowners group that is banning beach use Sunday morning by restricting access to its boardwalk.

The New Jersey Department of Environmental Protection on Thursday sent the Ocean Grove Camp Meeting Association, a Methodist Heritage organization, a notice of violation requiring the group to allow people onto the beach via the boardwalk, NJ reported. com.

The DEP, which was following up on a warning letter sent Aug. 13, gave the group 10 days to comply and remove the chain and padlock barriers that block beach access from the boardwalk on Sundays between 9 a.m. and noon.

Michael Badger, president of the organization, said Friday that no fines have been imposed.

The department also requested that association representatives “engage in a compliance discussion” with the agency “with the goal of resolving this matter as soon as possible,” Robert H. Clark, regional supervisor, wrote in his letter to the chief operating officer. of the association, Steve Columbo. Badger told that a representative from the group will meet with the state to ensure all the facts are heard.”

The New Jersey Department of Environmental Protection is giving the organization 10 days to comply. Bastiaan Slabbers/NurPhoto/Shutterstock
ocean groveOcean Grove, founded in 1869, has 3,000 residents.Bastiaan Slabbers/NurPhoto/Shutterstock

The Ocean Grove Camp Meeting Association, whose vision is “to be the coastal community where all generations can know and grow in Jesus,” has for 154 years closed the nine access points from the Ocean Grove boardwalk to the sand for three hours on summer mornings from Memorial Day to Labor Day weekends.

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The group works to maintain the religious heritage of the city, founded in 1869 by Methodist ministers. After 100 years, the New Jersey Supreme Court found the Ocean Grove Camp Meeting Association’s charter unconstitutional, but the association still owns all the land and participates in the governance of the coastal community of 3,000 in Neptune Township.

However, despite their efforts to limit beach use on Sunday mornings, Ocean Grove’s boardwalk and pier remained open throughout the summer, and neighboring towns can access the beach, to the north. from Bradley Beach or south from Asbury Park.

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