Beach Buggy Permits Suspended Through 2013 in Toms River
Toms River beaches are in no condition for the four wheel drive vehicles this year, council said
Citing poor conditions following Superstorm Sandy and continued reconstruction efforts, Toms River will not permit buggies to operate on township beaches through 2013.
The Township Council passed a resolution this week suspending the issuance of permits for the four-wheel drive vehicles through Dec. 31 of this year. Permits are issued on an annual basis, meaning no one will be able to operate a buggy on the beach during that time.
"We believe that we should suspend the use of beach buggies on township beaches this year because there is simply not enough land or sand for them to drive on," said council President George Wittmann. "For what little sand is left, we want to ensure that it's not damaged."
About 300 letters to 2012 permit holders have been sent by township Clerk Mark Mutter advising them of the 2013 suspension.
Tim Burden, vice president of the New Jersey Beach Buggy Association and Toms River resident, said that his group understands the concerns of the council but is willing to do something to help keep beaches open to buggies.
"We're 1,500 members and we would like to offer our assistance to the township in any way we can, whether it's dune fencing or cleanups, to keep access open," he said.
Burden said that he hopes council members will consider revisiting the situation after summer has ended and perhaps permit riders to drive during the fall.
Concerns of restricting beach access also were brought up by resident Dennis Galante.
"Isn't this the same thing as rights and use of the beach?" he asked the council.
"We're restricting it this year," said Councilman Mo Hill.
Hill said that, should easements be signed allowing for a U.S. Army Corps of Engineers beach replenishment project, the township wouldn't have to worry about buggies causing sand loss going forward. The Corps would return every four years for a 50-year span to replenish beaches.
"So if you have beach buggies driving down and in the first three years you've lost some sand, in [year four] they're coming back to replenish," Hill said.