Houghtaling & Downey Bill to Eliminate Strict Permit Process for Beach Cabanas Clears Assembly Committee

With the goal to help shore towns avoid a complex, costly and time-consuming permit process to put up beach cabanas during the summer months, legislation to reclassify cabanas under the Coastal Area Facility Review Act (CAFRA) as temporary tourism structures was approved Thursday by the Assembly Environment and Solid Waste Committee.

For many years, the New Jersey Department of Environmental Protection (DEP) treated beach cabanas as temporary tourism structures that did not need to go through a tedious permit process under CAFRA to be erected. However, the DEP recently changed its interpretation because cabanas are defined as “dwelling units” under CAFRA that require more stringent permits.

The bill (A-4180), sponsored by Assemblyman Eric Houghtaling and Joann Downey (both D-Monmouth) would amend CAFRA to remove cabanas from the definition of “dwelling unit” and classify cabanas as temporary tourism structures.

The sponsors released the following joint statement:
“Beach cabanas do not have electricity, running water or other amenities that would rightly classify them as liveable dwellings. Instead, cabanas are enjoyed by beachgoers to store belongings and find shade on a hot summer day. There’s no reason for shore towns to need to go through a strenuous permit process to put up cabanas. This bill will remove that procedural hurdle so that cabanas can be easily set up for visitors to enjoy on their day at the shore.”