By Neil Schulman
Sea Bright — Borough officials said that they are, reluctantly, requiring people to bid to hold surf camps, skim board camps, or yoga classes on the public beach.
Council introduced resolutions at its March 20 Borough Council meeting to require bids to hold these activities on the beach, so that the borough can regulate the amount and scope of these activities.
Councilman Marc Leckstein said that he thought the borough had no choice, because under the current system they would have a hard time refusing, for example, multiple surf camps, from taking up the public beaches, since they’ve given permission to one camp.
He said that not putting a bidding system in to allow Sea Bright to control the number of camps and where they take up space, would be to “continue to stick our heads in the sand.”
Councilman Kevin Birdsall noted that some activities, such as the skim camp, have grown over the years, and are in danger of taking up space needed by public beachgoers.
While yoga classes will be monitored under this system, more than one class will be allowed.
Council is also making a distinction between a surf camp and surf lessons. Lucky Dog Surf owner Melissa D’Anna said she offers lessons to a handful of people at a time who purchase a board.
Borough Attorney Roger McLaughlin said that this was not what the regulations were aimed at controlling.
“That, to me, is not dedicating a portion of the beach to a specific person at a specific time,” he said. This is unlikely to interfere with beach operations.
However, any students taking lessons from D’Anna would need to purchase a beach badge to use the public beaches.
Property values rise
Birdsall reported that in January and February alone, the borough added $2.2 million worth of property through new construction and improvements, according to permits issued.
Mayor Dina Long said this is part of an encouraging trend. In 2017, the assessed property value in Sea Bright rose $41 million, 6 percent.
After Superstorm Sandy, she had been told that the biggest indicator that things were getting back to normal would be when property values went up, and that’s been happening, she said.