Photo Credits: Don Stitzenberg, HRWC Inc., Apartments.com & prgpowerrealtygroup.com
The Hudson River Waterfront Conservancy Inc. brought legal action this week against the Admiral’s Walk Condominium Association, Inc. in Bergen County Court to gain access to the waterfront for the general public as required under New Jersey’s public trust doctrine (“PTD”).
The PTD requires that the public has the right to unhindered access to all property bordering a navigable body of water in NJ. The Doctrine goes back to colonial days and is the basis for the public having access to all NJ beaches. It applies to the Hudson River.
The Conservancy’s President, Don Stitzenberg, said that “Admiral’s Walk is denying the public access to the waterfront by fencing off its property. Residents of Admirals Walk enjoy a private walkway along the Hudson River while a private guard house prevents the general public from enjoying the same use.”
Public access along Admirals Walk’s waterfront will allow the pedestrian public to travel between the Edgewater Marina and the Edgewater Veteran’s Park without having to detour to the narrow, dangerous sidewalk along River Road.
While property owners throughout the rest of Edgewater allow the general public to pass along a riverfront walkway, Admiral’s Walk, while enjoying their own private walkway, has prevented access to the detriment of the rest of the Town’s residents in violation of the Public Trust Doctrine. Mr. Stitzenberg said “Admiral’s Walk should not be granted special treatment from other property owners along the Edgewater waterfront to the detriment and inconvenience of the rest of the residents of Edgewater. The Public Trust Doctrine exists to rectify just this sort of situation”.
The Conservancy has been working with Admiral’s Walk toward an agreement to have a private developer pay for construction of a walkway segment and flood prevention wall along Admiral’s Walk’s waterfront. In addition to meeting Public Access requirements, this agreement would have solved a recurring problem for Admiral’s Walk when high tides flood part of their parking area. There would have been no cost to Admiral’s Walk. However, Admiral’s Walk has failed to approve the proposal.