PUBLIC ACCESS COMMITTEE REPORT

By Ray Marione & Charles Stamm

(from Jersey Coast Anglers Association - April 1997 Newspaper)


RESOLUTION SCR119 DENIES PUBLIC ACCESS

Don't Let It Happen

By way of a letter and phone calls from Charles Stramm (President) and Ray Marione (Director) of the Hudson River Fishermen's Association, a long standing member of JCAA, comes the following news and action alert. It concerns and issue the HRFA has been battling for many years, public access to the shores of the Hudson River for a wide variety of public uses, and access problems that effect the entire state. The battle between developers that want to plant buildings right at the waterline and fence off property right to water's edge, and the right of the people who live within surrounding communities to fish, crab, play, relax or just stroll and enjoy the Hudson's charm, has been raging for years. It's been fought in the courts and also by attempts in the legislature to deny the public.

While there have been regulations on the books requiring developers to maintain an open access to the river prior to receiving a permit was embodies in Legislation enacted under the number R.S. 12:5-1 et seq., commonly known as the Waterfront Development Act or Law. But now, a group of New Jersey legislators, apparently lead by State Senator John P. Scott, who feels that allowing public access to the commonly held waterfront areas of Bergen and Hudson counties, and elsewhere around the state, can be denied in favor of developer's bottom lines.

The portion of the Waterfront Development Act that was supposed to guarantee public access has been poorly enforced and, in some cases, ignored, a big enough disgrace considering it was a hard-fought issue for people who live in these areas. Keep the waterfronts open and they attract the right kinds of people, with their kids. We've seen this time and again. But plant a huge building at the water's edge, effectively blocking people's right to walk and play on the banks of this scenic and historic river, causes entire areas of the waterfront to become sterile, devoid of people, families and outdoor recreation.

If you're as outraged as the members of the HRFA, the JCAA and the NJ Federation of Sportsmens Clubs are over this issue, then get on the phone to your state legislator, both assembly and senate, and tell them to stop SCR 119. It is just another ploy to put the needs of huge development companies over the basic rights and needs of the people who live in this area.

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