Proof That Jersey Shore Beach Access Opponents Are Wrong, Snobs

Providing ample amenities for out-of-towners hasn't ruined Redondo Beach; it won't ruin the Jersey Shore.

Photo | Jen A. Miller

There are five — five! — different bathroom stops in this photo of a very visitor-friendly beach in Redondo California. Photo | Jen A. Miller

Over the holidays, I shipped out to Southern California to visit family for a week. Almost every day I was there, I ran along Redondo Beach’s paved running and biking path — not only because it was parallel to the ocean, but also because those beaches had a water fountain, bathroom or both every few blocks.

That area of California is extremely pricey. The median home sales price in Redondo Beach is $800,000, and one neighborhood enclave requires at least $12 million to even think about owning a home there. This is not a crummy, rag-tag beach, and yet the community makes sure that there are plenty of places for pit stops for those who visit there, even if they’re coming in from out of town.

This makes some New Jersey beach towns look insane — and obnoxious — as they continue to try to do everything to shirk beach access mandates.

This has been a battle raging for years with groups and homeowners owners wailing against things like bathrooms for visitors being required in their beach towns. The latest instance is in Loveladies, where a family trust (because a $4 million home is owned by a trust) is suing because they don’t want to allow public beach access. This in the same cluster of towns in LBI where many owners hang signs saying that those beaches are private when they are not, all in hopes of scaring off visitors.

Except in a few rare instances, New Jersey’s beaches are public property, and should be open to whoever wants to drive down the Atlantic City Expressway or Garden State Parkway to visit — and those visitors should be able to pee in a spot that is not the ocean while there. Day trippers who don’t own property pump a lot of money into these communities between paying for beach tags (another topic for another column) and gas and hoagies and sodas and sunblock and souvenirs.

Without those kinds of visitors, the Jersey Shore would suffer. Fighting beach access laws because you pay property taxes goddammit and don’t want your view marred by the poors who are so destitute that they don’t own their own multi-million-dollar beach homes is the pinnacle of snobbery — and just wrong. I pay property taxes in Collingswood, but I’m not fighting to put a fence around Knight Park and claiming it’s just for me. That park, like a beach, is public, aka open to everyone, and makes these places desirable to visit (and spend money in) and live.

Just like these other jerks in LBI and the anti-dune group in Margate whose rhetoric based on junk science is reaching anti-vax levels of screed, beach access opponents are giving the finger to the rest of the state for the sole purpose of one thing: themselves.

If Redondo Beach, home to movie stars and professional athletes, can open up its beaches for anyone who makes the drive, the Jersey Shore can too — all of the Jersey Shore.

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