Township considers permits to drive on beach

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STRATHMERE – Officials said they would look into a proposal to provide permits to Upper Township residents so that they can drive on the beach.

Deputy Mayor Curtis Corson Jr. said fishermen in Strathmere had requested the permits so they can drive onto the beach. Ocean City and Sea Isle City have similar permits, he said. There would be a small fee for each permit, he said.

“It would make it easier for them to fish,” said Corson.

Committeeman Tony Inserra said the idea was worth looking into. Currently, vehicles with Sea Isle City beach permits are known to drive into Whale Beach or Strathmere, he said.

His only concern was the number of permits that would be provided, and the process through which residents would receive them.

“In Ocean City, people have had to wait two, three years to get a permit,” he said. “It becomes who you know.”

Ocean City and Sea Isle City limit the number of beach vehicle permits. Corson suggested that if Upper Township limits the number, a lottery system might work to award the permits.

Township engineer Paul Dietrich said the state’s beach management rules would not allow for vehicles on the beach between March and October because of bird nesting.

Mayor Richard Palombo said he was also concerned about the affect on the beach.

“The beach held in this last storm and it was one of the reasons we didn’t have the property damage some other towns had,” he said. “I would hate to see us damage the beach if vehicles are allowed on there.”

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