After 33 years, time to update Jersey Shore master plan, officials say
As New Jersey rebuilds from Sandy, lawmakers are considering a revision of the master plan for the Shore.
The plan hasn't been updated since 1980.
Environmentalists say changes are needed to deal with rising sea levels and stronger storm surges.
Revisions could be used to guide renovations in flood-prone areas, says state Sen. Bob Smith, Environment Committee chairman.
"As we start looking at either dunes or beach replenishment or sea walls, it should be done in a coordinated fashion where we actually have a plan, where it's not just people deciding 'I should have this dune here or that seawall there,'" he said Monday.
Smith, D-Middlesex, says adjustments to the master plan could be made at the local level to consider specific needs.
"We want to take input from municipalities and citizens -- not just along the Jersey Shore but in places like Hoboken and North Jersey that also flooded -- and try to find the appropriate solutions for those communities based on local conditions," he explained.
He says the state's $3 billion tourism industry depends on rebuilding, but it must be done wisely to provide better protections against future storms.
New Jersey Sierra Club director Jeff Tittel agrees.
"So that we have more beach access for people, so that we can have bike paths along some of our roadways, so that we can build in a much more sustainable way to help protect against the next storm." Tittel said.