Bayview Park Plan Meets Resistance From Neighbors

Oppose Beach for Dogs, New Parking Lot
Jan 16, 2019
Photo by: Ryan Morrill

Residents are voicing concerns about Long Beach Township’s plans to alter the marshy north side of Bayview Park in Brant Beach. The township is proposing the area for potential use as a dog beach. In addition, officials have envisioned a 33-car parking lot to the east of the 35,602 sq. ft. plot, adjacent to Long Beach Boulevard, and installation of dune fence around the beach periphery.

The municipality is applying to the N.J. Division of Land Use Regulation for a Coastal Area Facility Review Act (CAFRA) permit, a Waterfront Development permit and a Coastal Wetlands permit, Township Engineer Frank Little said Monday. Comments on the plan should be mailed to: N.J. Department of Environmental Protection Division of Land Use Regulation, PO Box 420, Code 501-02A, 501 East State St., Trenton 08625, Attn: Long Beach Township, Ocean County Supervisor.

CAFRA review officials will notify the township if a public hearing is scheduled.

On Monday, Mayor Joseph Mancini said the municipality would like to improve that section of Bayview Park, which is prone to mosquitoes. Although officials are not completely wedded to the idea of a dog beach, “I just thought it would be a good idea,” the mayor remarked.

A current dog park, outside town hall, is rather small. Additionally, the township has received requests to add more pickleball courts to that area. Should the north section of Bayview Park become a dog beach, the municipality would likely eliminate the current dog park in favor of more pickleball courts.

As for new parking spots – revised in the plan from 44 to 33 – Mancini noted, “This is a preliminary, multi-phase project, and it will be give and take. If we get less parking, that’s ok. If we get no parking, that’s ok.”

However, the township would like to offer this additional access to the bayside area.

Neighbors, though, worry about the displacement of various species from this parcel of Bayview Park, as well as allowing dogs whose owners may not be conscientious about cleaning up after them.

Alison (Aaron) Madsen and her husband, Howard, live on Bayview Avenue, facing Bayview Park. “The town tried to put a dog park at Bayview Park once before and was forced to back off due to the outcry,” she remarked. “This plot is just next to the recreation beach where thousands swim, paddleboard, windsurf and seine, and where LITs (Lifeguards in Training) for the township train in the summer.”

Dave Brown, of 66th Street, and Eileen Pfafman, a friend of Bayview Park, worry about the dog owners who don’t pick up after their pets.

“One important note about previous dog park: Honor System does not work,” said Pfafman. “The township workers were diligent picking up dog waste – when they were on duty,” she added, but that leaves many unmonitored hours.

Mancini said if the area were turned into a dog beach, the township would install cameras that will be monitored by police dispatch across the street. He also imagines a system by which dog owners will have to register to use the area, and will access it via key card – and will be stripped of the privilege of use should they not pick up after their dog, or otherwise.

“It’s not just the parking and dog waste that concerns us locals,” said Madsen. “It’s the destruction of a habitat that sees hundreds of ducks visit each year (thus the name Brant Beach) as well as turtles, herons, egrets and geese. We even had a swan swim by our bulkhead. With dogs romping in the shallows all day, those animals are not coming back!”

Carol Smith, of 66th Street, concurred. “The small coastal wetland is a haven for birds, animals and reptiles all year ’round. The thought of destroying their habitat for a parking lot that will be used primarily on weekends in the summer … is a travesty.

“I believe this pond is one of the only visible coastal areas that tourists can see from their cars as they drive down the Boulevard,” she continued. “This habitat represents the way Long Beach Island once looked. It’s a history lesson and should be designated as an historical landmark, not developed into yet another parking lot. Can’t we leave this small parcel alone?”

The complete permit application package can be reviewed at the township clerk’s office, 6805 Long Beach Boulevard, Brant Beach. For more information, call 609-361-1000.

— Juliet Kaszas-Hoch

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