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N.J. trade group endorses new public access rules

The Marine Trades Association of New Jersey said new public access rules the state Department of Environmental Protection has proposed include a number of significant changes affecting marinas, many of which are positive and represent a "return to common sense with a reasonable and balanced approach to providing public access to our waterways."

The previous regulations, released in 2007, forced marina owners to provide unlimited public access on their properties without taking into consideration the access and services they already provide, the association said.

Under the newly proposed rules, existing marinas would maintain the access they already provide. If it is necessary to affect the existing public access to do maintenance, renovation or needed improvements, equivalent public access would be provided on site.

Public access would be required for new marina development and would include a number of ways to satisfy the requirements, taking a marina's operations into consideration.

"The DEP has made a real effort to take into consideration the nature of the family-run marina businesses, the access already provided by New Jersey's marinas and the need for a reasonable, realistic and affordable permitting process which does not unduly burden marina owners and operators when essential maintenance and upgrades become necessary," association president Rick Traber said in a statement.

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