To the Editor:
The New Jersey Department of Environmental Protection has missed an opportunity to protect Long Beach Township’s oceanfront homes from flooding.
The three-lot block on which my home stands was for years sheltered by a bulkhead that extended from Lot 1 to Lot 8, and farther north and south in other blocks. My home survived Sandy in large part because of this bulkhead. Yet the DEP recently allowed the removal of the bulkhead in front of Lots 2 and 3, leaving a ready-made entry point for future Atlantic storm surges into my block and other proximate areas of Ocean Boulevard.
I am acutely aware of the danger the bulkhead removal presents, especially given that the home that previously stood on Lot 2 did not survive Sandy even with the bulkhead’s protection. So I filed a request for an ad judicatory hearing with the DEP to challenge the CAFRA permit that allowed the bulkhead’s removal. This was filed in February 2015 and the DEP has still not even decided whether it will grant me a hearing on this issue.
As you are aware, the spring storm Jonas took away a considerable portion of the replenished beaches, which had to be replenished.
The DEP is tasked with ensuring that development under CAFRA permits does not endanger human life or property or otherwise impair the public health, safety and welfare. I am waiting for the DEP to fulfill this mandate in connection with development on my oceanfront block and the whole shoreline. I hope I am not still waiting when the next storm hits Long Beach Island.
Elias N. Tsoukas