Home Lavallette Government Lavallette Grapples With Beach Access, Dune Debate

Lavallette Grapples With Beach Access, Dune Debate

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Dunes at Elizabeth Avenue, Lavallette. (Photo: Daniel Nee)
Dunes at Elizabeth Avenue, Lavallette. (Photo: Daniel Nee)

Some Lavallette residents say their walk to the beach is too long with entrances having been closed for several seasons, but borough officials contend that nature determines where it is prudent to open access points.

Elizabeth Avenue residents say they have not had an access point to the ocean beach at the end of their street for four seasons, leaving a swath of empty beach in their portion of town between Princeton and Newark avenues.

A short distance between the dune and the water at Elizabeth Avenue, Lavallette. (Photo: Daniel Nee)
A short distance between the dune and the water at Elizabeth Avenue, Lavallette. (Photo: Daniel Nee)

The decision on where to open access points, officials said, primarily have to do with the health of the dunes and beach berm – the sand leading to the water – on a particular street. Elizabeth Avenue, as it stands now, is not a candidate for an opening.

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“The integrity of that dune is so bad – in my opinion – we should be planting double, triple the amount of dune grass in that area,” said Councilman Robert Lamb. “From Newark to Princeton, the dune grass is washed out and it hasn’t come back.”

“Putting an opening there, and maintaining an opening, will make that area worse,” added Borough Administrator Christopher Parlow.

Lavallette's beach at Elizabeth Avenue. (Photo: Daniel Nee)
Lavallette’s beach at Elizabeth Avenue. (Photo: Daniel Nee)

Mayor Walter LaCicero said there is room for discussion on where entrances are placed, but ultimately, officials will have to see how the beaches recover from winter storm as sand currently making up the near-shore sand bar is dispersed back to the berm by the spring tide cycle.

“We put the entrances as close to those beaches as we can possibly get,” LaCicero said. “It’s quite possible there’s going to be some shifting in those beaches, and then we’ll shift the entrance. We’ve got people saying we need more [dunes] there, and people saying we need more access there.”

 

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  • Davece

    As I recall at the time that access points were first discussed at the council meeting,openings were decided by the Council on the distance between openings so as not to have more than 1-1/2 blocks between openings. There was no discussion about beach or dunes conditions in making this decision. Additional openings and closures can be done in relatively short times with minimal cost. Additional openings in fact may increase beach revenue to supplement additional openings cost.
    Let’s try a few new openings on a temporary trial period.

    • Joanne Petitti Filippone

      Every ‘opening’ in the dune system presents a weakness. Dunes need to be well rooted with foliage to gain strength, thus providing good protection A well rooted dune absorbs the water and holds back the surge for a number of hours. This can be evidenced by the strong rooted system we have in the northern sections of Lavallette. After Sandy, much of our dune system was weakened and/or eliminated. It will take a number of years for it to develop. Sand piles do little/nothing to hold back the surge of the ocean. With the replenishment project still in limbo, things will remain pretty much the same in Lavallette until something definitive develops with that project.