LONG BEACH TOWNSHIP, N.J. (1010 WINS/AP) — It’s the last chance for New Jersey residents to weigh in on new proposed beach access rules at hearing on Long Beach Island.

The state Department of Environmental Protection rewrote its beach rules earlier this year after a court struck down old ones requiring access points every quarter-mile along the shore, as well as parking and bathrooms nearby.

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The DEP says the goal of the new rules is to enhance and improve access to waterways, not hinder it.

1010 WINS’ Alice Stockton-Rossini reports: Some Jersey Shore Residents Say Greater Public Beach Access Needed

But more than 40 groups oppose the proposed rules, which would allow towns to decide what level of public access is appropriate, subject to state approval.

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The agency wants to work cooperatively with towns to guarantee beach access. But many beachgoers, environmentalists and anglers fear the state will let local governments make it difficult, if not impossible, for outsiders to use their beaches.

The hearing in Long Beach Township’s municipal building will be the fourth in a series held around the state. It’s scheduled for 7pm Thursday.   

Click here to read more about New Jersey’s public shoreline access from the NJDEP.

What do you think about the proposed rules? Sound off below in our comments section.

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