Why was C.R.A.B. formed?
During the summer of 1996 a number of disturbing incidents occurred on the beaches at the southern end of POINT PLEASANT BEACH:
These are a few of the incidents that prompted citizens to speak out against the growing trend to "privatize" beach access. Public access routes to the ocean are becoming few and far
WHAT IS C.R.A.B.'s ultimate goal?
The PUBLIC TRUST DOCTRINE states that the public has the right to use ALL LAND below the mean high water line (MHWL) and recent court decisions have affirmed our rights to some of the dry sand above the MHWL. NO ONE can deny the public access to this area of land held in TRUST for the PUBLIC by the STATE. All beaches are maintained by our taxes which pay to re-supply sand, build jetties, and make available FEMA assistance whenever and wherever it is needed. We want to make sure that everyone is aware of the PUBLIC TRUST DOCTRINE and that it's principles are upheld in all cases..
How can the average citizen help?
Writing to your public officials is probably the most powerful tool we have. Let them know how you feel concerning this issue and, most importantly, inform them of any incidents you may personally have had where you feel that your rights have been denied. Also, make your friends aware of what is happening to our beaches and encourage them to get involved.
Help us in our fight to protect YOUR access rights! Contact us with your suggestions and let us know your concerns.
EMAIL US AT: firstname.lastname@example.org or leave us a message at 732-361-CRAB (2722)
REMEMBER- We are not looking for free beaches. We do not want to trespass on private property. We do not want to stop people from building new homes.-WE SIMPLY WANT THE RIGHT TO CHOOSE WHERE WE WANT TO GO TO USE, ENJOY AND PRESERVE OUR BEACHES AND WATERFRONT AREAS.
IN THE SHORT TIME WE HAVE BEEN WORKING ON THIS ISSUE WE HAVE BEEN ABLE TO ACCOMPLISH A GREAT DEAL. WITH YOUR HELP WE WILL BE ABLE TO DO MUCH MORE TO ASSURE BEACH ACCESS FOR ALL INDIVIDUALS.
MORE OF WHAT WE'RE ABOUT
SOME QUESTIONS AND ANSWERS
WHAT IS C.R.A.B.'S ULTIMATE GOAL
C.R.A.B.'S ultimate goal is to secure and insure ACCESS to the ocean and our rivers and bays for recreational purposes for ALLcitizens.
WHAT DO YOU MEAN BY ACCESS?
Simply stated, ACCESS means being able to get to a desired destination unimpeded. In our case it means being able to enjoy the sand and surf for a variety of recreational pursuits.
DOESN'T THE "PUBLIC TRUST DOCTRINE" INSURE OUR RIGHT TO ACCESS THE OCEAN ALREADY?
The PUBLIC TRUST DOCTRINE holds the ocean's waters and the wet sand area from the mean high water line (MHWL) in trust for all citizens. In addition New Jersey courts have consistently affirmed the publics' rights to "the reasonable use of privately owned dry sand as is necessary for the enjoyment of the ocean". Much confusion exists as to the definition and location of the MHWL and what role it plays in determining where the public is allowed to recreate on a given beach. In addition some oceanfront property owners who hold deeds to adjacent beaches and groups of individuals who have formed associations to control beach areas offen take the position that the court decisions do not apply to their properties. Currently mediations, negotiations, and costly time consuming litigation on a case by case basisis the only recourse the public has when attempting to regain access to coastal areas.
ARE THERE ANY OTHER IMPEDIMENTS TO BEACH ACCESS?
Thats a good question! Excessive beach fees; limited, restricted, or no parking; difficulty in obtaining daily badges or not offering them to the general public at all; and associations that limit access by allowing only selected individuals to use their beaches, are all examples of impediments to access.
WHAT DO YOU CONSIDER "REASONABLE "ACCESS?
Citizens should not have to travel more than a few blocks along the coast to obtain access to the ocean. Also, individuals should be able to choose the atmosphere most suited to their beach enjoyment needs (boardwalk/amusement areas or quieter more secluded areas) if they are available.
ARE YOU SAYING WE HAVE THE RIGHT TO TRESPASS ON PRIVATE PROPERTY?
ABSOLUTELY NOT! We respect the rights of private property owners and do not advocate trespassing. We do, however feel that access points such as street ends, rights-of-way between properties, etc. should be made available to the public at reasonable intervals. We also strongly feel that in order for owners of beachfront property and members of the public to peacefully co-exist we must develop a mutual respect for each others rights.
WHAT ABOUT PRIVATELY OWNED BEACHES THAT CHARGE A FEE TO USE THEIR BEACHES?
New Jersey is unique in that by statute municipalities are allowed to charge a fee for beach use. By extension, privately owned beaches have also been allowed to charge fees for beach access and related services. The statute is very specific in demanding that beach fees be in accordance with actual specific beach costs . Municipalities are not allowed to profit from beach badge sales and again, by extension, private beach enterprizes should also be held to the same standards. We realize that maintaining a clean and safe beach is a costly endeavor. As long as a privately owned beach or association makes its facilities available to ALL citizens at a reasonable fee we have no objection to such enterprizes. Our concern at this point is not Beach Fees , but rather Beach Access...being able to get to the beach.
ARE YOU SAYING YOU DON'T SUPPORT THE CONCEPT OF "FREE BEACHES?"
The concept of free beaches has recently been renewed in New Jersey. Remember. we are the only state that charges individuals to use it's beaches. If it can be shown that state subsidies can allow municipalities to operate beaches free of charge with no loss of services to beach goers, and still allow each community some control over it's beaches, we would support such efforts. We are currently studying the proposals and welcome ongoing dialog in this area.
ONCE AGAIN WE MUST STATE...WE ARE MOST INTERESTED IN BEING ABLE TO RETAIN REASONABLE ACCESS TO OUR BEACHES.
WHAT HAS C.R.A.B. DONE TO FURTHER THE CAUSE OF BEACH ACCESS?
Our newsletters The CRAB CAUSE, along with the updates we will be placing on this site regarding our litigation efforts contain a chronology of our attempts and accomplishments to date. We are proud of our efforts and will continue to educate the public on it's rights according to the PUBLIC TRUST DOCTRINE.
YOU KEEP MENTIONING THE PUBLIC TRUST DOCTRINE. IF IT IS ALREADY A LAW WHY SHOULD WE HAVE TO FIGHT FOR WHAT IT STANDS FOR?
That question has a complicated answer. Let's try to simplify it...The PUBLIC TRUST DOCTRINE, is known as "common" or "case law." It does not have exact codes like a "statute does, but rather a set of general guidelines that is left open to many interpretations. It is not specific as to exactly where the "lands" are or, for that matter, how much "dry sand" is available for reasonable enjoyment. Anyone citing the doctrine when defending their position would be subject to individual opinion within its guidelines..
WHAT CAN BE DONE ABOUT THAT?
C.R.A.B. has been working with other like minded organizations as well as various branches of the state government to incorporate regulatory and legislative initiatives that will support and enhance public access to our beaches. Please visit our PUBLICATIONS PAGE and our LITIGATIONS PAGE to see some of our efforts along with our access partners to further meaningful public beach access
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NOTE: WE HAVE A NEW PHONE NUMBER:
© Citizens' Right to Access Beaches, C.R.A.B. INC. 1996-2017
All Rights Reserved
page update 03/17
Phone: 732-361-CRAB (2722) or Google Voice # 732-451-4914
Citizens Right to Access Beaches, CRAB Inc.
PO BOX 1064
Point Pleasant Beach, NJ08742
PUBLIC TRUST DOCTRINE INFORMATION
Community Service and Education