In community meetings, I often hear that the beaches in Belle Harbor will be required to have eight crossover ramps after the new dune is built and that the number can be dropped to four if the ramps are connected. However, that is not what the law says. According to the ABA, the required number of access points for the disabled in Belle Harbor/Neponsit is two, not four or eight.
Federal guidelines require no more than one-half mile of shoreline between access points. Hence, we can meet that requirement with one ramp in the 140s and one ramp in the 130s. The distance to the nearest bus stop (less than ¼ mile) and the distance to public parking (1/8 mile) are non-factors. The requirement is two access points, not four or eight as is commonly stated.
Does that mean someone has been lying? No. This happens all the time in government. Someone misinterprets a rule. After this “fact” is repeated and passed along several times, everyone assumes it is the law.
Fair access to the beach is both a legal and moral obligation. The Belle Harbor Property Owners Association believes we can enhance accessibility at all 24 beach entrances between Beach 126th and Beach 149th. We are pleased that the government agencies are committed to working with us to refine the plan.
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