Smith Holds Community Meeting w Point Pleasant Beach Businesses Hurt by Dune Project
Congressman Chris Smith held a community meeting in Point Pleasant Beach, NJ on Monday to discuss the impact of the 22-foot dunes recently built by the U.S Army Corps of Engineers (USACE) along the commercial areas directly contiguous to the Point Pleasant Beach boardwalk.
The adjacent boardwalk commercial areas all have a new, lower 18-foot dune built by the Corps.
PHOTO SLIDES AT LEFT
The Sept. 9 meeting was held at the Arugula Oceanview restaurant on Ocean Avenue, which has seen a 40 percent drop off in business after the USACE project was completed, and it was hosted by the nearby White Sands Hotel, which has also seen a decrease in customers. Attending the meeting were several officials from the New Jersey Department of Environmental Protection (including the NJDEP Assistant Commissioner David Rosenblatt) which is the non-federal partner in the project and which opposes the businesses' requests to lower the dunes to 18 feet. Also in attendance and supportive of the lower beach were NJ State Assemblyman Dave Wolf, representatives of Bradshaw Beach, a commercial company, the Point Pleasant Beach and Surf Club, Mayor Steve Reid, Councilman Paul Kanitra, and other members of the community.
The businesses all wanted the same 18-foot dunes the adjacent boardwalk businesses enjoy, and felt they are unfairly disadvantaged by the Corps' higher dunes which obscure the ocean.
The Corps brought a contingent from its New York and Philadelphia offices, led by Lt. Col. David C. Park, Commander of the Philadelphia District which includes Ocean County, NJ, and his superior officer, Maj. Gen. Jeffrey Milhorn, Commander and Division Engineer for the USACE's North Atlantic Division. The Corps gave a presentation and took questions, but told Smith and the attendees it could not deviate from the authorized level of 22 feet for the area in question, and noted the NJDEP opposed any lowering of dunes. Milhorn agreed the Corps was willing to meet in the future on the matter.