Can Anyone Justify The Jersey Supreme Court's Ruling Making Private Beaches Public?

On reflection, I see JohnBckWLD’s point a little better. The common-law aspect really applies (mostly, I would think, if not entirely) from the ocean up to the mean high-water mark. The court’s judgment, on the other hand, concerns the area of beach above that. If this were really a common-law issue of access, there would be no question of making people pay $3 or anything else. The court seems to have decided, “Yes, it’s private property, hence the legitimacy of charging to visit, but not so private that we can’t force the club to throw the gates open.”

By the same token, I don’t want a dozen guinea-T wearing Guidos and their bimbos (ok the girls can stay) to set up camp outside my home that I paid $2 million for and making it stink of Red Bull & Vodka and Drakkar Noir. Or worse, get sued because one of them goes into a 'roid rage, injures himself trying to break a wooden pile with his head and then sues me.
The thing is, there isn’t anything wrong with wanting to keep the unwashed masses out. Our whole concept of property and ownership (and I think it’s a good one) is based on the desire to keep everyone else the hell out.

the reason the unwashed masses thing became an issue is that each individual landowner claiming their stretch of beach (and access thereto) collectively kept out people from huge stretches of beach, a patently unfair situation. In Florida, on most stretches of developed beach, they seem to have developed a reasonable compromise – regular “beach access” points which amount to little more than a small stretch of road, often only a yards long, and short boardwalks across the dunes, often sandwiched among hotels and condos and such. There are also nice public parks at less frequent intervals.

Shame on folks in the northeast for letting Florida look reasonable.

Not everything is for sale. You may find that inconvenient, but it is a fact. Some desireable things are simply beyond your grasp, no matter how much you want them all to your self.

Right. Basically the common law concept was that the ocean was government property. This isn’t taking private property by the government; the government just said that you can’t buy a part of the ocean. (That being defined as where the sand normally gets wet at high tide.) A similar concept of more modern origin is that one can’t own the airspace where planes, ballons, etc. would travel in over their land. If I win the big Lotto jackpot and buy a huge farm, I can’t shoot down airplanes that fly over it.

But the ruling in the OP goes farther than just claiming the wet bits. It grants “full access to the beach, from the mean high-tide line back to the dunes”. Depending on the makeup of the beach, placement of the dunes, etc., that could cover an awful lot of property.

It’s surprising conservative groups aren’t calling you to be a national spokesman.

The point here is that the shore is not private property - it’s public land owned by the government. What some individuals are doing is buying up strips of private land that are adjacent to the public shore and then, by denying everyone else access, using public property as their de facto private beach. It would be like if I bought a one meter wide strip around the perimeter of Yellowstone Park and then told people they couldn’t cross my property. The government is saying people cannot use their ownership of nearby private property as a reason to forbid people to have access to public land.

From the link:

The absolutist majority opinion:

From one of the 2 dissenters:

In the ecosystem of the beach, the beach extends to the dunes and even includes those. Walking on the dunes is illegal in many places.

That sounds like Gene Hackman’s diabolical plan in one of his arch-evil nemesis roles. And just for the record, there are many people own ‘private property’ within National Park boundries (Not Yellowstone to the best of my knowledge, but other US Park Lands).

As a small aside, when you start arguing about the public’s water & shore rights, I assume you’d have to be in favor of nixing privately owned Marinas as well. Or does the construction of a dock somehow transform beaches into non-beaches.

As a side-note, it’s fairly stupid to put private residences bang-up against the shoreline (or riverbank) anyway. Those are the places most subject to flooding, hurricane damage, and other catastrophic effects which are predicted to get substantially worse as a changing climate produces more extreme weather.

Admittedly, a more sensible policy would have restricted property ownership in littoral and riparian areas more strictly in the first place, which would have kept those areas available for public temporary access, rather than letting developers sell off riverbanks and beaches to private buyers and then telling the property owners who paid good money for them that they don’t have the right to keep other people off them.

I’ll concede that it’s a rather arbitrary decision to decide that one type of property (say, a lake or a field) can be private property, while another type of property (like a beach) should always be open to the public, but my own upbringing in Australia instilled in me a belief that beaches should be a public resource for use by all citizens.

I believe that California also has similar laws regarding beach access.

I’m not sure what the law is in New Jersey, but in most places where the public is given access to private property in the interest of the greater public good, laws are enacted that specifically reduce the liability of the landowner for injuries occuring on the property. For example, in Britain, under the Countryside and Rights of Way Act 2000 (and earlier, similar Acts) the owner of a piece of property does not have the same duty of care to people who come uninvited onto his land as to people who come on as invited guests.

I dunno.
In Hawaii, all beaches are public.
Always have been.

Without the approval of the army corp of engineers?

Actually, that just proves the opposite point-they shouldn’t be profiting from a PUBLIC resource.

How the hell is he supposed to sue you? He was on PUBLIC property.

Besides wasn’t the issue of ownership decided in 2001. The current issue was whether the town could charge admission, specifically, to only charge out-of-towners exorbitant fees.

Rivers and Oceans, think of those as roads. The land right next to those? Sidewalks.

As for privately owned scenic areas that aren’t connected to navigable waters, that’s a different issue. But I’ll say this much: if the owners of Bushkill Falls decided it would make a better parking lot, I’d have no problem with the state stepping in with eminent domain.

At least where I live, there are laws against camping on the beach. Seems like a reasonable solution to this problem. If they’re really rowdy, they are creating a public disturbance. Public drunkenness too. And littering. It’s not like you’d be totally powerless to stop people like that.

So private utility companies that use ocean wave generators & hydro electric plants should all be publicly owned entities…Are you sure you want to make that broad a statement?

Privately owned utilities are regulated to act in the public interest.