Beach repair projects that get state funding would have to provide public access under a bill working its way through the New Jersey legislature.

The beach at Seaside Heights on Tuesday (Andy Chase, Townsqaure Media NJ)

A state Senate committee passed a bill Monday morning requiring that projects seeking funding through the Shore Protection Fund provide public access.

The original bill would have only encouraged the projects to provide public access, but not required it.

Requiring better public access to newly repaired beaches has long been a goal of environmentalists and beach access advocates.

They note that numerous shore towns discourage public access by blocking off sections of the coastline, and failing to provide parking and restrooms.

It's unclear if that the beach access requirement will be enacted.

New Jersey lets shore towns decide for themselves what level of access is appropriate.

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