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NJ Lawmakers Consider Shore Master Plan Update

By Phil Gregory, WBGO News
Trenton. March 4, 2013

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Dunes on the beach in Sea Girt (photo by Phil Gregory)

As New Jersey rebuilds from Sandy, lawmakers are considering a revision of the shore master plan.

The master plan hasn’t been updated since 1980.

New Jersey Sierra club director Jeff Tittel says revisions are needed because of a rise in sea levels and stronger storm surges.

 “Local zoning may prevent someone from elevating their house to get above the storm levels because towns have height restrictions or setbacks from the street where you may want to move the house closer to the street and away from the waterway so that you’re better protected.”

Senate Environment Committee chairman Bob Smith says revisions could be used to guide renovations in flood-prone areas.

“As we start looking at either dunes or beach replenishment or sea walls it should be done in a coordinated fashion where we actually have a plan, where it’s not just people deciding I should have this dune here or that seawall there.”

Smith says adjustments to the master plan could be made at the local level to consider specific needs.

“We want to take input from municipalities and citizens not just along the Jersey Shore but in places like Hoboken and North Jersey that also flooded and try to find the appropriate solutions for those communities based on local conditions.”

Smith says the state’s $3 billion tourism industry depends on rebuilding, but it must be done wisely to provide better protections against future storms.

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