Long Beach Island, among the rest of the Jersey Shore, was devastated by Hurricane Sandy and are still hurt from the storm. Rebuilding and restoring the shore has been no easy task but the job is almost complete. The Holgate section of LBI has seen a portion of their wetlands filled in from sand from the storm and this developer Mark Davies believes that the land is now suitable for building. As you can imagine, the local community is up in arms over it and are not giving up the wetlands that easily.
Sure the land MIGHT be suitable to build on it now, but it was not permitted two years ago. Davies is asking to reclassify land use in a 2.2 acre section of the wetlands. The NJDEP has been called in to make the adjustment and said that they would consider maybe reclassifying 1.5 acres of the 2.2 originally asked for. The DEP could have mixed feelings about the land use change but still has to process his application and request. As of now there has been little progress for Davies but he seems fairly adamant on acquiring that land and subdividing it so he can develop it.
The wetlands have only been covered for a few years now and there is no way to know if that land is strong enough to support building on it. IF it does become buildable land there could potentially be safety issues. The DEP has until April 6, 2016 to say yes or no to Davies’ application. I don’t think it should pass because building on wetlands regardless of how much sand there is will always be a gamble. The land was protected before and it still should be regarded as untouchable land. It has been said that development on that south side of the island would only make flooding worse in the area. If that is the case it is a no brainer that the land should remain untouched unless further studies prove that the land is safe to build on. There has to be preservation on land like this because it is slowly deteriorating and losing its natural use. Only 5% of the land in the United States is classified as wetlands and I don’t think we can afford to lose any more of it. It is an asset to barrier islands, a natural necessity that keeps the island’s equilibrium in check.