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Brigantine residents fight against SUVs on beach

By ALAN RAPPEPORT Staff Writer, (609) 272-7219
{ress of Atlantic City


BRIGANTINE - Residents are expected to ask City Council tonight to reconsider the rules allowing SUVs on the south end beaches because of increased traffic and a danger to sunbathers.

Lisa Shallow, a summer resident, has gathered a petition with 300 signatures asking the city to limit the number of SUV permits to 1,000 per year. She also wants the city to create more distance between the vehicles and the bathers, and to post 15 mph speed limit signs.

"As a resident of the south end of Brigantine, I have serious concerns about the dangers associated with the SUVs driving at the south end beaches," Shallow said in a letter to Mayor Philip Guenther. "The situation has worsened throughout the summer and I did not feel that the city provided any relief."

In her petition, Shallow urges the city to move the barrier pilings at the south end farther south of the Sandy Lane lifeguard hut by 150 feet to keep SUVs away from people. She also suggests installing speed bumps at cross paths and cutting back the bayberry bushes to improve visibility. Police would be asked to patrol the beaches on all-terrain vehicles and would be required to use lights and sirens when SUVs are necessary.

Selling SUV permits has been a lucrative and sometimes controversial practice here. People have complained in the past of the traffic and environmental hazards of the vehicles, but many people enjoy being able to bring their fishing and surfing gear to the beach. The city charges $150 for a permit for a four-wheel drive vehicle. For people 60 and older, the cost is $75.

The city will address the question again at 5:30 p.m. tonight in City Hall.

"The residents, the sunbathers, have very serious concerns about the dangers of so many trucks driving so close to the sunbathers," Shallow said
 
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