N.J. Town’s Plan for RVs on Beach Heating Up
A plan to ease the strained finances in Wildwood, N.J., by allowing RV campers on a patch of beach in this Jersey Shore town – one of the few that don’t charge for beach access – has oceanfront-property owners irate that their “lawn” could take on a “trailer park atmosphere.”
“We plan to do whatever we have to do to make sure this doesn’t happen. The beach is about flying kites, playing volleyball, enjoying the environment of the beach. . . . RVs are not part of the beach,” said Robert Grandinetti, president of the Wildwood Ocean Towers Condominium Association, which has mounted an aggressive effort to prevent RV camping, which could begin next week.
Allowing RVs to set up on the beach for a fee – an accepted practice in Florida and California, according to RV enthusiasts – would create an unsightly, noisy appearance and could pollute the waterfront, say opponents. The area could “turn into one continuous tailgate party,” Grandinetti told the Philadelphia Inquirer.
The association, which obtained a court order to stage a recent Boardwalk protest, will take additional legal action if needed, he said.
At least one more demonstration is likely before Aug. 18, when campers are expected to arrive as part of a beach festival near the site, just south of the Wildwoods Convention Center, Grandinetti said.
Mayor Ernie Troiano and the three-member City Commission in July awarded a five-year contract to a California company, Point Break Group Management L.L.C., to operate the RV campground for up to 78 vehicles between Taylor and Hand Avenues. The company will rent 60- and 30-foot-wide slots for $120 to $150 a night.
Vehicles will enter the beach at Cresse Avenue, where the Boardwalk ends, and travel a three-block path on hard-packed sand to the camping area, according to officials.
Revenue eventually could funnel $200,000 a year into the municipal coffers, the city has said.
Wildwood faced a $3 million budget shortfall this year, the city’s worst financial bind in 30 years, City Commissioner Pete Byron said last week.
To continue paying for beach upkeep without a tax increase, the city has looked to the beach itself as a revenue generator and has come up with creative ideas, Byron said.
The “comprehensive beach plan” does not rule out a beach-tag fee, officials have said.
Wildwood began selling permits for horseback riding on the beach last winter. And it has leased about 100 “beach boxes,” wooden storage units, for $400 a season so regulars can leave gear near the water’s edge.