A message from the Mayor of North Wildwood.
Below is the text of a Press Release that was sent out today in conjunction with the response filed by the City to the NJDEP lawsuit against North Wildwood. For those ambitious folks who would like to read the entire response filed by the City, you can find those documents at the link at the bottom.
Unfortunately, we have lost an incredible amount of beach and dune this winter. The hardest hit area has been between 13th-16th. Despite the fact that the City had constructed a fully-NJDEP compliant dune at the beginning of the summer, that dune is over 90% gone. There is a small rise of sand on the backside of the remnants of the dune remaining. Once that is gone there will be nothing between the ocean and our city. Hence, why the installation of a bulkhead is of utmost importance.
I will keep you updated on this page as the case progresses. Please feel free to email me at Prosenello@NorthWildwood.Com with any specific questions.
North Wildwood Seeking $20 Million In Damages
In Counterclaim Against NJDEP
North Wildwood, NJ – On December 6, 2022, NJDEP filed a lawsuit in the Superior Court seeking to enjoin the City of North Wildwood from constructing a bulkhead that is badly needed to protect the City from the ongoing erosion of its beaches and dunes. The City has filed its answer to that lawsuit today. The answer, in addition to explaining to the Court why it is imperative that the bulkhead be constructed, includes a motion for a counterclaim asking the Court to award the City $20 million in damages as a result of NJDEP’s ongoing failure in its responsibility to provide meaningful shore protection to the beaches and dunes in North Wildwood.
The City’s response also included verified certifications that revealed the NJDEP based their denial of an Emergency Authorization (EA) on survey work done by an unlicensed individual using amateur survey equipment to gather data. The State of New Jersey requires land surveyors to be licensed for their data collection to be deemed valid. That data was then used by the Stevens Institute to produce the report at the heart of the NJDEP denial and lawsuit.
“Our answer and motion for a counterclaim is a damning indictment of the incredible lack of professionalism and scientific integrity at the NJDEP,” said North Wildwood Mayor Patrick Rosenello. “Here we are dealing with a real-life emergency that has the potential to put public safety at risk and damage public and private property and the NJDEP has the unmitigated gall to base their decision on the issuance of an EA on survey data collected by an unlicensed individual using equipment that is no better than a phone app. This useless information was then used by a so-called scientist at Stevens Institute to produce a report that is the definition of junk science. Our answer is also an indictment of NJDEP’s refusal to recognize an emergency that is of its own doing.”
The City’s answer and counterclaim includes certifications from Dr. Stewart Farrell, New Jersey’s leading expert on coastal erosion. Dr. Farrell has confirmed that the beach and dune area in and around 15th Avenue in North Wildwood has seen the highest rate of beach and dune erosion of any site in the State of New Jersey going all the way back to the mid 1990’s. Other certifications from licensed engineers and established environmental professionals soundly dispute every point made by the NJDEP in their refusal to issue an Emergency Authorization for the bulkhead.
“The facts of this case are pretty clear,” added Rosenello. “The NJDEP has had access to millions of dollars in federal funding to conduct a beach and dune replenishment project in North Wildwood for nearly a decade. While they have failed to implement this project, North Wildwood has tirelessly worked to protect our town. In what I believe is nothing more than an effort to cover for their abject failures, NJDEP decided that their only remaining course of action was to take North Wildwood to court. I have said for over two years that I welcome the opportunity to present our case in front of an impartial judge and I am satisfied that we are finally getting that chance.”