Developer has friend on the inside at DEP
Will DEP allow shore treasure to be destroyed?
[Update: see Star Ledger columnists’ belated take on the Tak – safely after the CAFRA permit was issued: Lifesaving station needs a rescue
The debate over a controversial beachfront development proposal in Long Branch escalated yesterday with the filing of an ethics complaint against a personal assistant to Department of Environmental Protection (DEP) Commissioner Lisa P. Jackson. A coastal permit to allow the development to move forward is now pending before DEP.
The case involves plans by developers to turn the historic Takanassee Beach Club property in Long Branch into a multi-unit residential complex. Historic buildings on the site date back to the U.S. Lifesaving Service, the forerunner of the U.S. Coast Guard. The proposed development and DEP permit have drawn considerable opposition by environmental, historic preservation, surfing, and local community groups.
NEW JERSEY AIDE GOT TOO CLOSE TO DEVELOPERS — Ethics Complaint Filed Against Personal Advisor to DEP Commissioner
Trenton — A top aide to the New Jersey environmental agency improperly worked to locate financing, provide coaching and smooth regulatory hurdles for a controversial beach-front development, according to a complaint filed today before the State Ethics Commission by Public Employees for Environmental Responsibility (PEER). The complaint requests investigation of a key state Department of Environmental Protection (DEP) official, who appears to have broken ethics rules against providing inside information and showing undue partiality to a permit applicant.
(Link to Full text of release and DEP emails with developer: http://www.peer.org/news/news_id.php?row_id=996
I drove out to Long Branch yesterday to get a feel for the place and issues involved. I was blown away by the rustic charm and majesty of the place. Surrounded by wall to wall shore development, it represents the last remaining link to the past. But in addition to environmental sensitivity and historical significance, preservation of the site could provide a very special public space, a rare and much needed resource along NJ’s over-developed coastline. Take a look and see if you agree:
This comment says it all – WHO WILL TAK THE BRIBE?
Can the Tak survive, or will it be absorbed by surrounding development?
Will the Tak become a beautiful public place at the beach, or just another gaudy private Idaho?
My thanks to John Weber and the great folks at Surfrider Foundation who have done excellent work in organizing opposition to the DEP CAFRA permit and provided the DEP emails.
For those interested is working on the underlying problems at DEP, see:
NEW JERSEY SAYS SECRET MEETINGS KEY TO ENVIRONMENTAL POLICY — Petition for New Transparency Rules Rejected the Same Day Notice Is Published
Public business done behind closed doors http://blog.nj.com/njv_bill_wolfe/2008/02/public_business_done_behind_cl.html