The Jersey Shore -Building into the Atlantic

Imagine this scene during hurricane season :

Thousands of families uprooted from waterfront property. Close to a billion dollars of damage done to waterfront homes and condos. Casinos and hotels washed into the ocean.

Is this the Gulf Coast in September?

No, it’s the redone and remodeled New Jersey coast.

Many lives will be put on the line thanks to building almost directly into the Atlantic Ocean (not to mention the Hudson River as well).It’s not like builders from Cape May to Edgewater have built a few small homes. They have erected Mc Mansions a few feet away from tidal pools and stacked condos a hair’s breadth away from roaring surf. The land should be used for protective barriers. Thanks to global warming hurricanes are hardly the mild affairs they were in the past. Their destruction won’t be just a few downed lines and maybe some broken windows but full out damage. Category Two hurricanes can cause tidal surges up to six to eight feet while the stronger ones, from Category Three up to Five can cause water levels to rise eighteen feet above normal. Since our shore is at sea level, we can have inland flooding eight miles long. Think of the homes and business that will be ruined. The matter will only be exacerbated by residents fleeing in droves. Highways will be clogged with both long time locals and scores of new residents fleeing the storms. It will mean more accidents, and possibly bringing in the National Guard to oversee any problems that will occur. The state and local police forces won’t be able to handle a massive evacuation not to mention relocation onto higher ground. The more people that are enticed to the beach areas, the worse the catastrophe. The death rates alone will be staggering along with half our population victimized.

Politicians and builders will have to stop thinking about how much money they can add to these counties. They have to concentrate on how much protection can be given to endangered coastal areas. Waterfront towns should be rezoned with a certain percentage of land being converted into a coastal habitat area. Leave the existing homes and businesses alone that may already be there, but don’t build on any deserted land bordering a beach area. These areas should be designated parkland, filled with dune grass and trees. Doing this will create buffer zones to high tides and gales force winds. We can still have the beach area to enjoy the sand and surf, but there will also be the added bonus of woodland. Also doing this will ensure that New Jersey will have a shore for the next century. Again, thanks to global warming sea levels are rising. Those seaside condos may look appealing now but in the future they’ll be resembling the lost colony of Atlantis. In the long run it’s more prudent to build inland or within the older cities near the ocean.

This also applies to those scores of homes being built directly on inlets as well. Regulations should be put in place to also protect the various inlets and lagoons that dot Cape May, Atlantic, Ocean and Monmouth counties. Bay fronts are giving way to mega mansions being build almost on the water. Again this is not a wise idea. Barrier islands should be just that – protecting the mainland from the ravages of nature. There shouldn’t be any building on them and certainly not luxury homes. If anything they should be turned into conservation areas.

The shore counties are not the only counties land greedy. Up north Bergen and Hudson Counties have ruthlessly gobbled up almost every inch of land bordering the Hudson. Condos are practically built on peers and they’re almost swimmingdistance from Manhattan. Our ancestors ruined that area by building ugly industrial piers and factories. When these were torn down, we should have realized the beauty and the necessity of waterfront parkland but we didn’t. Scores of condos, high rises and shopping malls now congest a stretch of land running from Fort Lee all the way down to Jersey City. The builders should have kept in mind that the Hudson is an estuary of the Atlantic. When the ocean has storm surges so does the river. Again, there will be mass damage and mass destruction and even worse in these areas – looting and lawlessness. We need to preserve our waterfront not turn it into high priced residences.

As New Jersey residents, we have to seriously consider our oceanfront property. We have to realize that a built up waterfront isn’t necessarily a plus. If anything – it’s a tremendous minus

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