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It Didn’t Matter Anyway



…………On May 7, Superior Court Judge Lawrence Lawson agreed with the plaintiffs and ruled that Belmar’s designation was “arbitrary, capricious, and unreasonable and must be found invalid.”

However, Lawson determined that the borough did not violate the Public Trust Doctrine, under which beachfront communities are required to keep the beach and the ocean waters “open to all on equal terms and without preference, and that all contrary state or municipal action is impermissible.”

Doherty said the borough “respectfully disagrees” with the judge’s ruling, which he claimed would have little impact on Belmar moving forward.

“Practically speaking, this will have no impact our rebuilding and our efforts to fully recover from Sandy,” he said. “We’ve already rebuilt 1.3 miles of boardwalk, we’ve already awarded a contract to Epic Construction to rebuild two of our pavilions, and we did all of that without (the area in need of redevelopment designation).”

But Doherty said the borough would have had more options in its recovery if the judge had ruled differently.

“The beachfront will not be any worse off than if we did have this,” he said. “But it still would’ve been useful and we would’ve rather had it than not have it.”

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