Letters

Unneeded Development

Feb 13, 2019

The following was addressed to Long Beach Township officials.

Mayor and Commission:

While the residents of Brant Beach appreciate the “scaling down” of the original development plan at Block 15.22, Lots 1 and 2, the parking for the pier still includes unnecessary development at Bayview Park. The main point of our objections has always been to limit any unneeded development.

The SandPaper article quoted the township as saying the wetlands would not be touched. But the grasses and sandy areas from the Boulevard sidewalk toward the bay are all part of the wetlands – part of the habitat where birds, turtles and other sea life create an ecosystem that supports our bay.

In order to create the parking, the land would have to be cleared and compacted. This is a disturbance to the ecosystem.

The “public pier” was created without any input from the local residents. It is barely used and is not feasible for fishing (waters too shallow below). Visitors recreate in the waters immediately contiguous so a casted hook and line would in fact be a very dangerous situation.

There is already handicapped access to the pier in that a hardscaped pathway from the sidewalk was recently installed. There are already hundreds of parking spaces (including ADA compliant) in the vicinity with unobstructed access to the pathway.

If the township truly wanted to maximize space without disturbing the environment, it could use the old basketball court footprint for the seven spots, while still maintaining a large area for storage on that same location.

ADA regulations do not require handicapped parking spots unless there is already parking in that area. The SandPaper article intimated that this was an ADA requirement and this is not accurate.

Trading wetlands parcels (as proposed by the mayor) may maintain the overall mass of preserved property, but when the residents have no input on the location of these properties, it becomes a business proposition, not a true effort to keep LBI natural.

At the public meeting on Feb. 4, township leadership was very dismissive of the Brant Beach residents’ concerns about further development. The mayor continually directed speakers to limit their comments to “the seven parking spots.” One cannot separate our concerns about unlimited development from this single project.

While the township building, Bayview Park and the beach pavilion may be quite popular with visitors, it is the residents who live with the noise, traffic, parking overflow, trespassing, trash and degradation of our natural environment. We say “no more” to development of Brant Beach. Perhaps it is time to wind down the massive growth of the township and limit expenses instead of always seeking to increase revenues.

When the township leaders are not transparent about the rationale for constant development, a constituency can be suspicious about how well the elected officials represent the local citizenry. LBI has always been home to many species of sea and land life. Let’s keep it that way.

Alison and Howie Madsen

Brant Beach

 

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