About 300 protesters, carrying signs and chanting in unison, walked the Wildwood, N.J., boardwalk between Saturday (July 28) to fight a city plan to allow recreational vehicles on the beach.
“No RVs on our beach, no RVs,” chanted protesters, many of whom own condominiums at the nearby Wildwood Ocean Towers, the Press of Atlantic City reported.
A banner plane even flew overhead protesting the RV plan. The placards protesters carried summed up some of their concerns.
“We want dunes, not RVs,” read one.
“RVs belong in a campground,” read another.
The city plans to allow RVs on the beach as a way to increase revenue. The city does not have beach tags, but Mayor Ernie Troiano is hoping to create some form of recurring revenue from the strand.
Robert Ferris, a member of the condominium association, said the city may realize $200,000 in revenue by allowing RVs but may lose as much in taxes as properties are devalued.
“Our building has 176 units, and we pay about $1 million in taxes. This will devalue our properties. They will lose in property tax whatever they gain in revenue,” Ferris said.
Most of the protesters, who also came from neighboring Wildwood Crest and North Wildwood, were not concerned with economics as much as safety, pollution, noise and other issues.
“Water comes up to the Boardwalk in a storm, and in a good storm comes under the Boardwalk,” said condo owner Bruce Balady. “What will they do, tow out the RVs?”
Another concern is using Cresse Avenue to access the beach. The protesters say this is a busy area and that it is not a safe plan.
“All it will take is one accident, and that will be the end of this,” said Karim Kaspar, the attorney for the protesters.
Several protesters were worried about their children and grandchildren going to the beach and having to pass the RVs.
“I don’t want my grandchildren walking through a trailer park,” said Willa Piplitz, who has lived across the street on Ocean Avenue since 1947.
Condo owner Andy Thomas worried about the types of people who would camp on the beach.
“It will be like an Eagles game with tailgaters getting drunk,” Thomas said.
Pollution is another concern. The park will not have electricity, so the protesters say generators will be running all night long, causing air and noise pollution. Some worry about sewage being dumped on the beach, as the RVs will have to use their own holding tanks while they are there.