You may have seen recent news coverage about a proposal by Atlantic Shores Offshore Wind (a 50-50 joint venture between EDF Renewables North America and Shell New Energies US LLC) to build a wind farm off our coast. Some LBIslanders have expressed concern over the proximity to shore and visibility from the beach. Surveys conducted by the University of Delaware and the University of North Carolina indicate the proximity to shore and hence the visibility of the turbines can have a negative impact on visitors’ desire to visit and rent in coastal communities. The developer is expected to file a Construction and Operations Plan with the Bureau of Ocean Management (BOEM) next month. BOEM has the ability to hold off its review of the wind farm plan until after it conducts an ‘early scoping process’ which would allow for public input prior to plan review.
You can find some details in our Issues and Announcements section:
- a presentation by Bob Stern (Beach Haven) that raises concerns about the potential impacts on tourism and values, given the visibility of the project from the shoreline.
- a sample letter to BOEM, requesting an early scoping process, for your consideration.
- NJ respresentatives contact listcontact info for New Jersey representatives
Today, (4/6/2020), Long Beach Township adopted an emergency Order closing access to and use of all LBT beaches, unless you are a resident or property owner but you must have your DISASTER RE-ENTRY PLACARD with you if you are on the beach. The paragraph below is clipped directly from the LBT website.
“Effective immediately, the Township of Long Beach (“Township”) has closed access and the use of all Township beaches to all persons, except property owners and residents who were issued and are in possession of “disaster re-entry” passes/placards (“Placard” or “Placards”). The Placards were issued following Superstorm Sandy and were recently reissued by the Township. Persons issued the Placards may access the beach area of the Township designated on the Placards and may do so to walk and jog, but shall not engage in any other activities on the beach. Two (2) adults, their minor children, and leashed dogs may use the Placard at any one time. All Placards shall be prominently displayed and shall be held up and shown to any Township police and Township personnel in the vicinity. For further details regarding the Emergency Order, a copy of the Order is posted on the Township website.”
LONG BEACH ISLAND JOINT COUNCIL Of TAXPAYER ASSOCIATIONS
209W 18th Street
North Beach Haven, NJ 08008
March 23, 2019
U.S. Army Corps of Engineers Planning Division
100 Penn Square E.
Philadelphia, PA 19107
To Whom It May Concern:
The Long Beach Island Joint Council of Taxpayer Associations (JCTA) is hereby submitting comments on the New Jersey Back Bays Coastal Storm Risk Management Study’s Tentative Selective Plan (TSP).
Our concerns reflect the lack of transparency and information provided to the public while developing the TSP. This has had a deleterious effect on our ability to evaluate and comment on the Plan’s impact on Long Beach Island (LBI). Specifically, the systemic failure to engage in meaningful dialogue with the public entirely negates the projected Community Opportunities as reported in the TSP. Furthermore, the plan will reflect the public’s subsequent lack of understanding, as residents had difficulty finding information about the TSP even though the study reported that the TSP can be broken down into smaller regions .
Notice of the December 1, 2016 scoping meeting failed to reach the Long Beach Island public for a variety of reasons:
- Public notice was published in the local newspaper (The Press of Atlantic City) that only serves the lower portion of Long Beach Island.
- Public was given merely 9 days of notice prior to the December 1, 2016 meeting; both public notice and the meeting itself were held at a time when the vast majority of homeowners had already vacated Long Beach Island for the winter.
- The USACE abruptly changed the TSP release several times.
- JCTA sent a number of letters to the USACE and the non-federal sponsor, the N.J. Department of Environmental Protection (DEP) complaining of the initial and revised release date (all during the 2019 winter) of the TSP and requested a change of the date to the spring when it is more appropriate for public engagement. At that time, a request for a public meeting on Long Beach Island to discuss the TSP was made. Both the USACE and DEP disregarded these concerns and released the TSP on March 1, 2019.
Evidence that the inadequate and inappropriate timing obstructed the public’s awareness of the project was found in a May 7, 2018 council meeting which found zero (0) members of the JCTA were not even minimally familiar with the NJBB study, nor had they received the outcome of the June 2016 Charrette meeting.
Subsequently, the only response to the JCTA’s concerns was from the Commander of the USACE’s Philadelphia District who provided the name, telephone and email address of the District’s Chief of Planning. However, the Chief never responded to the JCTA’s invitation to participate in an LBI public meeting to discuss the TSP and only responded to one of the 3 e-mails regarding questions on the study. Our contact with the Chief was terminated abruptly and without notification, and the DEP’s Director of Coastal Engineering demanded that all requests regarding the study are only to be sent directly to the USACE.
A comprehensive public engagement initiative should have been included in the TSP to educate the public and gain their support. As a result of botched communications and interfacing between the TSP and the coastal communities it purports to serve, there will be lasting questions and mistrust in the USACE and NJ DEP’s ability to adequately assess and address the significant environmental threats to Long Beach Island.
Peter Trainor, MPH
Chair, Environmental Committee
All residents of Long Beach Township will be required by the State of NJ to install water meters by the end of 2020. Download this notice for general information on meeting this requirement.