November 27, 2013
Re: County Beach Legislation, Allows Municipal Opt-Out, A-3891/S-2601
On Monday, the Assembly Environment Committee approved A-3891, which authorizes Atlantic, Cape May, Monmouth and Ocean counties, by ordinance or resolution, to assume responsibility for the operation and control of the beaches that border the Atlantic Ocean within the county. Specifically, this legislation authorizes these counties to pass an ordinance or resolution for a countywide beach program, which would be effective 180 days after the passage of the ordinance.
Like its Senate companion S-2601, the bill was amended by the committee to allow a municipal “opt out” so that municipalities can maintain their current authority over the beaches. The League objected strongly to the legislation as introduced, which did not provide for a municipal opt-out. The League’s Legislative Policy, adopted by the Executive Board, states, in part, “It is essential that the municipalities of the State should act in unison on adverse legislation, and hence, if only a portion of the members are affected by undesirable bills, these bills should be opposed … otherwise unfavorable legislation will be enacted piecemeal …”
While we appreciate the amendments which allow municipalities to opt-out, if this legislation were to advance it would be preferable for an opt-in so that municipalities with existing ordinances would not need to re-adopt those ordinances. Both A-3891 and S-2601 stand at 2nd reading in their respective houses and can be scheduled for floor votes at any time.
Questions can be directed to Mike Cerra at email@example.com or 609-695-3481 x120.
Very truly yours,
William G. Dressel, Jr.