North Wildwood has been issued two notices of violation for ongoing construction along the oceanfront and Hereford Inlet without permits and authorization, the state Department of Environmental Protection said Saturday.
The DEP said the construction, including vegetated dune removal, was conducted without department engineering and environmental reviews and may threaten the natural ecosystem’s and the public’s well-being.
Mayor Patrick Rosenello said via email the city’s environmental attorney will respond to the DEP next week.
“These activities were undertaken without regard for the laws and regulations that have long been in place to protect public safety and the fragile ecosystems that are not only important as wildlife habitat but serve critical functions in protecting New Jersey’s coastal communities,” Commissioner Catherine McCabe said in a news release. “It is vital that projects in coastal ecosystems undergo thorough reviews under state laws and regulations in place to ensure these activities, if allowed, are conducted in a manner that protects both the public and the environment. North Wildwood showed complete disregard for these laws and regulations and must stop work immediately.”
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The department said the city has removed more than 8 acres of dunes and wetlands, constructed an oceanfront bulkhead and in conjunction with a contractor constructed multiple buildings and extended the sewer service at Seaport Pier. The work, which dates to 2018, violates the Coastal Area Facilities Review Act, Coastal Zone management rules, the Flood Hazard Area Control Act, the Freshwater Wetlands Act and the Water Pollution Control Act, the DEP said.
According to the DEP, the city must cease all unauthorized oceanfront construction from Hereford Inlet to 22nd Avenue until approvals from the DEP are obtained. Any work that does not receive DEP approval must be restored and structures removed.
The DEP warned that the violations may affect parts of the DEP and U.S. Army Corps of Engineers’ beach and dune work in the city and Hereford Inlet seawall repairs in the Angelsea section. That work is scheduled to begin this month.