Don’t Feed Wild Animals or Bring a Menagerie to the Dog Park: Proposed in Barnegat Light

Aug 15, 2018

Feeding wild animals, including gulls, on private property would be in violation of an ordinance introduced in Barnegat Light, but it’s not definite that the proposal will make it past a public hearing and second reading next month.

Another ordinance introduced at the August borough council meeting would allow only two dogs per person at the dog park, on West 10th Street.

The animal feeding rule is in response to complaints about a resident feeding seagulls that were filling “her whole front yard” and neighbors were complaining of “noise” and “droppings.”

The dog park restriction is due to comments of someone bringing “10 dogs.”

Taking the animal feeding situation first, bird feeders in yards would be an exception, council members said.

Councilwoman Dottie Reynolds had initially said at the caucus before the regular meeting that she “would like to approach the woman first and see it can be resolved without an ordinance.” She added, “It’s a gray area; it’s very subjective whether something is a nuisance.”

But after more discussion an ordinance was introduced, with Mayor Kirk Larson saying council could see how it is received at a public hearing next month, and in the time between now and then.

Regarding the limit on the number of dogs that one person could bring to the dog park, Larson noted that Ocean City’s ordinance allows only two, but he asked council members what they thought. Councilman Michael Spark asked, “Are there complaints?”

Councilman Ed Wellington said he thought the issue could be “trouble controlling them.”

“You can’t be watching 10 places,” agreed Councilman Frank Mikuletzky.

In another matter, council voted to reject two ordinances that had been introduced last month that would have restricted parking on West Sixth Street. Borough Attorney Terry Brady said proposals could be re-issued in the future if needed, and council members had determined that there was not a problem right now.

A new member of the planning board was appointed, Daniel Mears.

The option for historic preservation when renovating was discussed, but the topic did not move beyond talk, and the issue was tabled for now.

Reynolds introduced the idea as “overdue, something we need to address” – that is, “to preserve the charm and history of old houses by grandfathering renovations” to borough historic buildings “to reconstruct them to the original design, excluded from current zoning restrictions.”

Wellington noted that one such request recently came before the zoning board and was denied. It was an issue of a 38-foot turret peak on 12th Street, he said. Zoning ordinances limit building height to 30 feet in the borough, and the zoning board said no to the request.

Also tabled was a proposal by Wellington to replace the sign by the post office with a digital sign instead of keeping the old one that uses block letters. The $20,000 cost is available in the budget, he said. Mikuletzky said, “I like the idea.” The fire company uses a similar kind of stationary digital readout.

“Give it a month,” suggested Mayor Larson, adding with a smile that some people like the old signs where the lettering is done manually, “like Fenway Park.”

Moving on to committee reports, Reynolds noted that “the bay beach has been closed several times” due to higher-than-allowed coliform counts. “That’s probably because it has been so hot that the bay water is warm.” The bay doesn’t flush as well at that location as some other areas do, she said. The public will see a sign up if the beach is closed, or they can check the website NJbeaches, she noted.

On ocean beaches, lifeguards have made 69 rescues so far over the summer and 123 victims were involved, Reynolds reported.

Piping plovers have all fledged and all of the fencing protecting them has been removed from the beaches, she said. “The last two were named Superman and Larry.”

In another matter, the borough was told by the state Department of Environmental Protection to restore the 30th Street beach entrance to the way it was before it was opened up to emergency rescue vehicles, according to Wellington. The borough had made the access at 30th Street because piping plover nests had impeded an entrance farther north.

“The DEP came down and then sent us a letter that it was not allowed ... they could fine us, but they’re not going to. They’re going to allow us to use that until the end of the season,” Wellington said.

There were two counts of violation, and the borough was told to “put the vegetation back in there, and we have to restore the dune to its original height. We didn’t knock it down that much,” he added, so the restoration should not be difficult.

— Maria Scandal

mariascandale@thesandpaper.net

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