Dock dispute ongoing for West Point Island homeowners

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The dock, built-in 2018, brings the question of riparian rights, a landowner’s right to use adjacent waterways, into question. PHOTO COURTESY OF EVAN PHALON

LAVALLETTE — A dispute over a large dock off of West Point Island is yet to be decided by the state’s Tidelands Resource Council, which is considering the extent of a property owner’s riparian rights.

In 2017, the resource council approved the extension of a dock at 83 Pershing Blvd. owned by P.T. Jibsail Family Limited Partnership.

Constructed in the spring of 2018, the dock extends nearly 300 feet into the Barnegat Bay.

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Neighbor Janine Morris has been fighting the extension since 2017. She says the extended dock, which cuts diagonally in front of her dock, cuts into her riparian rights, is dangerous for boaters, infringes upon surrounding properties views and could lead to more and more of these large docks.

“From a personal aspect, it’s devastating to look at this ugly thing,” said Ms. Morris. “There’s wires hanging all in the water. It’s an accident waiting to happen; that’s the point of this whole thing.”

A Tidelands Resource Council meeting was set for early March, but with no quorum, no decision was made. Ms. Morris and other neighbors went to dispute the extension. Since then, the group has been waiting for the topic to be placed on another agenda.

Other neighbors, notably Joe Pesci, have opposed the dock since its inception.

Philip G. Mylod, representing Ms. Morris, said the entire dispute will be settled by the Tidelands Resource Council when they decide the extent of a landowner’s rights to their adjacent waters.

“When you have a property next to water, you have inherent rights to use those waters,” said Mr. Mylod. “The extent to which to use those rights, just imagine an imaginary line going out from a line on both sides going out to the channel, that’s the question here; How far out do our rights go?”

He said they believe PT Jibsail is crossing over into their riparian rights while PT Jibsail believes the rights do not extend out that far.

Mr. Mylod also said they believe the dock crosses into navigational waters and Ms. Morris’s access to those waters.

They also claim the extended license is void because proper notice was not given to them.

Mr. Mylod said their brief was also forwarded to N.J. Attorney General Gurbir Grewal to weigh in on the decision.

The next meeting of the Tidelands Resource Council is scheduled for Aug. 5. Ms. Morris is waiting to see if the topic will be on the agenda.

Two other dock extensions on the island are awaiting the outcome of this decision, according to Ms. Morris.

“If everyone is allowed to do it, it’s going to be atrocious and block everybody in,” said Ms. Morris, “and someone is going to, unfortunately, lose their life going on a Wave Runner at night.”

“This excessively-sized dock also poses a risk of injury to boaters, Jet Skiers, and kayakers navigating in and around the channel and is, in our opinion, an accident waiting to happen,” Mr. Mylod added.

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