County to Modify Little Egg Harbor’s Dangerous Intersection

Aug 16, 2017
Photo by: Pat Johnson Carol Evans, Little Egg Harbor Recycling Coordinator for the Department of Public Works shows the range of compost bins and accessories available for a low price through Ocean County.

An intersection of county roads in Little Egg Harbor has been the site of many accidents. On Aug. 10, Township Engineer Jim Oris announced that the Stage Road, Giffordtown intersection is to be modified.

The township received county approval to flip the full stop to Stage Road traffic, instead of Giffordtown Road. To make the transition easier to comprehend, the county will first install a 4-way stop for 30 days. Afterwards the stop sign will be removed from Giffordtown and those traveling Stage Road will no longer have the right-of-way.

Also at the meeting, the township committee adopted an ordinance that requires companies that purchase properties to supply a full address and not just a P.O. Box number. The ordinance is meant to enforce the township’s property maintenance ordinances, said Township Attorney Jean Cipriani.

In a related resolution, the committee approved $3,850 in tax liens on various properties that had violated the property maintenance ordinances.

Recycling Coordinator Carol Evans gave a presentation on composting bins and rain barrels, available for half price from Ocean County. Evans said composting of home kitchen organic waste saves the township money by keeping this garbage from the landfill. Residents may order the bins or barrels by going to the town Public Works page on the website

Evans said that if the department gets enough interest from the community, a crew will make the trip to Lakewood in October to pick up the orders.

Verizon Wireless will add booster boxes, known as nodes, to some utility poles that are in the township right of way. The project will improve cell phone coverage. Verizon will not be placing additional poles but needed township approval to use the poles in existence. The township will not receive additional rent from the pole owners. Verizon will work out its own contracts with AT&T or the electric company.

The township added $2,540 to the budget; the money is the yearly revenue from the Edwin B. Forsythe National Wildlife Refuge instead of property taxes.

The governing body authorized the Municipal Alliance Committee to apply for a $52,308 grant from the Governor’s Council on Alcoholism and Drug Abuse. The township partners with Eagleswood and Tuckerton to operate the MAC programs, and contributes $15,000 annually.

The township committee adopted a change order resolution that decreases the amount paid to Earle Asphalt Company for a drainage improvement project estimated to cost $274,413 but actually cost $233,592 – a savings of $40,820.

AB Cranberry Holdings, the company that bought Cranberry Creek from the original developer, the Kleiner Group, went to tax court and won an appeal of the tax assessment of what was vacant land between 2011 and 2014. The township must refund them $41,004 in taxes.

Mayor Ray Gormley said the Holly Lake Condo Association deserves credit for repairing the dam on Holly Lake and restoring the pond. Yet that he had heard some complaints that the top of the spillway was left open and could pose a hazard. He asked the town engineer to contact the association about ways to cover it.

During the public portion of the meeting, Art Mooney asked for an update on the “dredging situation.” This issue is the result of a private meeting that Gormley, Committeeman John Kehm and members of the Osborn Island Homeowners Association held a few days after the last public meeting, July 13, when many residents urged the mayor and committee to come up with a plan to dredge all the problem areas of all the lagoons in the township. (Although it was not an advertised meeting, it was a lawful meeting because it did not have a quorum present or take any action, the township attorney explained.)

Gormley said that he would be contacting Ocean City in Cape May County to learn about that city’s lagoon maintenance program. “We’re waiting for them to restart their dredging. And I have contacted some turf farms in the last couple of weeks to do what I can to try and get places to put the (dredge material) stuff.”

Osborn Island Homeowners Association member Roman Krocmal asked if the township was using its political clout to push the dredging issue forward.

“We are doing all we can,” replied the mayor. “We have the 9th District (state legislators) and Congressman Frank LoBiondo on board; and Congressman Tom MacArthur, because we have partnered with Stafford Township” (to find solutions).

A Mystic Island resident said the situation was getting desperate, because when people can’t get their boats out of the lagoons, all real estate taxes will be higher from the ramifications of the waterfront losing property value.

Gormley said the problem lies in the disposal of dredge material. “We can get the permits to dredge but where do we place the material? And what is it going to cost us?”

Kehm said the current $2.1 million National Fish and Wildlife Foundation grant was not a dredge project but a shoreline restoration project. “We have 3,500 homes on the water. We have to look at the whole.”

“Just to give you an idea of how difficult this is,” said Gormley, “Just for Osborn Island, 1,500 dump truck loads has to come out of (lagoons) there. That’s a lot of matter, and we have to find a location for that.”

Committeewoman Lisa Stevens tried to explain a reporter’s question over this new idea of trucking the dredge material. She said there were two separate projects involving dredging.

During the break between the regular meeting and the executive session, Ed Andrew from the OIHA said the group had renewed its own five-year NJ Department of Environmental Protection dredge permit after waiting for the NFWF grant to be approved. At the start of the NFWF process, it was thought the dredge permit paid for by the homeowners association might be adequate, but the DEP is requiring different permits.

After the executive session, the township meeting reconvened and the committee approved a memorandum of agreement with white-collar union AFSCME Council 963.

Also approved was a contract to purchase two dump trucks equipped with snowplows, $126,000 each, from the Ocean County Cooperative Pricing System.

— Pat Johnson

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