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.”