General Ricardo Solano Jr. and Acting Department
of Environmental Protection (DEP) Commissioner
Mark N. Mauriello announced today that the
state has entered into separate, beach-access-related
settlements with six private beach clubs in
Sea Bright, Monmouth County.
agreements significantly expand the amount
of beach open to the general public. The beach
clubs also have agreed to contribute to a
fund that will be used for the construction
of additional public-access amenities in the
Borough of Sea Bright.
addition, the state has resolved its claims
against the Borough of Sea Bright. Under the
settlement, Sea Bright has agreed to spend
$556,000 to provide additional public-access
amenities within the borough that are related
to providing public access to the beach.
six private clubs who have settled with the
state are: Chapel Beach Club, Surf Rider Beach
Club, Driftwood Beach Club, Sands Beach Club,
Water’s Edge Beach Club and the Ship
Ahoy Beach Club. The settlements do not include
three other beach clubs in Sea Bright that
were named in a 2006 lawsuit filed by the
state. Filed in New Jersey Superior Court
in September 2006, that lawsuit called for
revision of an agreement signed by the state
and the nine private clubs in 1993.
key aspect of the settlements announced today
is their expansion of the amount of beach
in Sea Bright that will now be available for
public use in front of the private beaches
of the clubs. Under the 1993 agreement, a
15-foot “limited use public corridor”
was set aside in front of the clubs’
beaches. Today’s settlements replace
that 15-foot corridor with a “full public
use” area encompassing at least 50 percent
of the beach – up to a maximum of 150
feet – extending landward from the Annual
Mean High Water Mark. Under the new agreements,
the beach clubs will retain exclusive use
and control over the beach area landward of
the public use areas.
are important agreements for the people of
New Jersey, and for anyone who wants to experience
the beaches of Sea Bright,” said Acting
Attorney General Ricardo Solano Jr. “As
a result of these settlements, the public
will be able to use and enjoy substantially
more beach area. I appreciate the willingness
of the beach clubs to work with our office
to reach these settlements.”
settlement reaffirms our continued commitment
to maintaining and enhancing access to our
natural resources for the use and enjoyment
of all New Jersey residents,” said Acting
DEP Commissioner Mauriello.
terms of the settlement, the newly configured
public-use areas in front of the six beach
clubs vary in width from club to club because
of the width of the beach, the physical make-up
of the respective clubs, and the specific
terms of the individual settlements.
on measurements taken earlier this year, the
width of the public-use area at Ship Ahoy
Beach Club ranges from 88 feet to 118 feet.
At Sands Beach Club, it ranges from 118 feet
to 150 feet. At Surfrider Beach Club, the
width is a consistent 150 feet. At Chapel
Beach Club, the width ranges from 80 feet
to 107 feet. At Water’s Edge Beach Club,
it ranges from 50 feet to 76 feet, and at
Driftwood Beach Club, it ranges from 24 feet
to 59 feet.
In the case of all six clubs, the remainder
of beach extending inland from the designated
public-use areas will remain private and for
the exclusive use of club members.
public-use areas likely will vary in width
from year to year as natural forces change
the beach. Because of this, the beach will
be re-measured annually on June 15. At present,
the beach in some areas of Sea Bright has
been significantly eroded due to recent storms.
It is anticipated, however, that the described
widths of the public-use areas will be representative
of the available public-use area during the
summer beach season. Additionally, in the
event of a future beach fill, the size of
the public-use areas likely will increase
significantly, because all of the new beach
seaward of this year’s mean high water
line will be available for public use.
state’s 2006 lawsuit contended that
the 1993 agreements limiting public access
to a 15-foot-wide limited use corridor were
contrary to law and public policy.
The six settlement agreements announced today
not only expand the amount of beach area available
for public use in the borough, they provide
for a contribution from each of the settling
clubs to help fund construction of public-access
improvements. Five of the settling clubs will
contribute $30,000, while a sixth club, the
Driftwood Beach Club, will contribute $20,000
and give the DEP a tract of oceanfront property
in nearby Monmouth Beach.
money contributed by the clubs will be placed
in a Sea Bright Public Access Fund, to be
managed by the state, and will be used to
finance public access improvement projects.
The specific projects will be designated by
the state in consultation with the Borough
of Sea Bright, the American Littoral Society
and the advocacy group Citizens Right to Access
Beaches. The American Littoral Society and
Citizens Right to Access Beaches were both
amicus parties to the state’s beach
the three clubs who are not part of the settlement,
one club -- Trade Winds Beach Club –
was sold previously and the property converted
to residential housing. The beach that was
once part of the Trade Winds is now a public
Another club not involved in today’s
settlement -- Donovan's Reef Beach Club –
previously settled with the State, and the
club property is now a full public access
beach. Litigation is continuing against the
Seabright Beach Club.
settlements announced today were reached largely
through the extensive mediation efforts of
former New Jersey Supreme Court Chief Justice
James R. Zazzali. The Sea Bright beach access
matter is being handled on behalf of the state
by Deputy Attorney General Dean Jablonski,
of the Division of Law’s Environmental
Permitting and Counseling Section.