- Associated Press - Thursday, April 13, 2017

DEAL, N.J. (AP) - Officials in a small New Jersey shore town are once again floating plans to require parking permits on streets with beach access points.

The latest proposal in Deal would require residents and visitors to have the permits, which would cost $100 for the summer or $50 per month.

Town officials say money raised through the permits would be used to clean its newly widened beach, but don’t have an estimate of how much money may be raised. They said beachfront homeowners donated $112,000 to pay for a new beach sweeper, and the money raised through the parking fees would pay for the labor to run the machine, its maintenance and the tipping fees to dump the garbage at the landfill.

The officials said they don’t believe the permits will restrict beach access for visitors, noting that everyone would be required to have a permit and the borough will issue an unlimited number. They also note the permits would only be need for a few streets.

Critics, though, say the proposal is just the town’s latest attempt to discourage outsiders from using the beach.

“They’re just trying to find new ways to skirt around the law and make it look like they are doing it for a reasonable purpose,” Andrew Chambarry, co-chairman of the Jersey Shore Chapter of the Surfrider Foundation, told the Asbury Park Press. The group has started an online petition opposing the plan.

The permits would be needed to park on certain streets from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. each day, starting with Memorial Day weekend and ending on Labor Day weekend.

The proposal marks the third time Deal has tried to adopt new parking rules in the two years since a nearly $40 million federal beach replenishment project dramatically widened beaches in the 1.2-square-mile enclave. Its year-round population is about 750, with most residents over 55 years old. Nearly one of five households earn more than $200,000 a year.

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