Little Egg Harbor Announces Spring Start for Park and Ride Lot

Dec 19, 2018
Photo by: Pat Johnson With each high tide storm, the Iowa Court cul-de-sac continues to erode into the bay. The area is slated for a shoreline restoration.

The bidding process for the long-anticipated Park and Ride commuter parking lot for the Exit 58 Garden State Parkway Interchange in Little Egg Harbor Township is over, and construction should begin in the spring, Mayor Ray Gormley announced during the Dec. 13 municipal meeting. On Dec. 5, the Ocean County freeholders awarded a bid of $421,212 to Mathis Construction Co. Inc. The county expects to be reimbursed by the New Jersey Turnpike Authority.

The project will consist of 49 paved parking stalls with an internal bus loading and unloading area in anticipation of future bus service to this location.

Another project that has been in the works is the Iowa Court Living Shoreline on Osborn Island, which has been stalled by the agency that is funding the project. The National Fish and Wildlife Foundation awarded a grant to pay for the project and the construction company has delivered bulkheading materials to the site, but work has not begun because a federal endangered species study must be completed first by NFWF.

During the public portion of the meeting, Dave Fuller, spokesman for the Osborn Island Residents Association, said the dredging of the lagoons has been going ahead as planned; the inlet to the bay from the lagoons is adjacent to Iowa Court. Iowa Court was heavily impacted by Superstorm Sandy and the homes have been rebuilt, but the cul-de-sac at the end of the road is eroding and being undermined by subsequent storms. Fuller read from a letter from the OIRA dredging committee, “A delay in the start of the Iowa Court Living Shoreline project, caused by a slow final federal review, may be jeopardizing the dredge work already done in the Osborn inlet and lagoon system. In this regard, Osborn Island is requesting that the township please immediately do the following: temporarily stabilize the Iowa Court cul-de-sac and prevent the erosion into the newly dredged Osborn Island inlet and lagoon system and 2. Guarantee Osborn Island that the Osborn inlet will be kept deep and open as currently dredged at no additional cost to the special assessment.”

Fuller suggested the township public works take some large concrete blocks that are currently at the public works yard and drop them at the edge of the cul-de-sac.

Township Engineer Jason Worth said he would talk to the new public works supervisor, Richard Wisnewski, and see what could be done.

In a related matter, the township awarded a $29,750 professional services contract to ReClam the Bay, a nonprofit dedicated to improving water quality through increasing shellfish in the Barnegat, Manahawkin and Little Egg Harbor bays. ReClam will provide oyster spat (baby oysters) on shell to the NJDEP and Army Corps of Engineers for the Living Shoreline project at Iowa Court. This is paid for through the $2.1 million NFWF grant.

In August, Little Egg awarded a $1.5 million contract to Albert Marine Construction of Waretown’s bid of $1,507,067. The cost for the Iowa Court living shoreline ($1,086,031) and a project to increase the shoreline at South Green Street in Tuckerton ($421,036) will come from two grants: what is left of a $2.1 million National Fish and Wildlife Foundation grant awarded in May 2015 and a $400,000 NJDEP resiliency grant.

The living shoreline on Iowa Court includes shoring up the eroded cul-de-sac and creating a “hybrid living shoreline,” so called because it contains a hard structure. Hybrid living shorelines are preferred for projects that face open water. The hybrid living shoreline will contain a 20-foot-wide “shoreline sill” of a ton of rocks to mitigate wave action on the salt marsh. The sill will contain a buried wooden bulkhead along the historic 1977 tide line. It will then be filled in with “quality” dredge material having just the right sand-to-mud consistency, and planted with salt marsh and cedar trees. This project will require 50 dump trucks of fill to enlarge the marsh to almost an acre. The marsh is owned by the New Jersey Land Trust. The hard structure will be enhanced with the oyster spat.

Kimmy’s Safe Haven

Facing Dog Evictions

Kim Brown of Kimmy’s Safe Haven Rescue, a nonprofit animal rescue she operates in her home on Harvest Way in Little Egg, had brought some of her volunteers with her to share their thoughts on the good work the rescue does for the township. Brown is facing a possible citation for having more than three dogs in her home at one time as per a township ordinance. Brown has suggested an amendment to the law that would allow registered nonprofit rescues to house more than three dogs. The ordinance also prevents foster homes from keeping more than three dogs at a time; foster homes are temporary placements of animals while a forever home is sought.

Volunteer Tyler Seeley said that since 2014 the rescue had adopted out “200-plus animals into loving homes.” The animals are cared for in a home situation where they interact with people, watch TV and learn to live in a typical home until they are adopted.

Jackie Daletto said the rescue works alongside other rescues to help animals. “We work to make Little Egg Harbor a more animal-friendly community by keeping animals out of shelters. This is not a hoarding situation. If you would create a rescue ordinance, that would help other rescues in New Jersey,” she added.

“We stand for the rights of animals. We do rehabilitation so that animals can be adopted and not stuck in shelters.”

Kim’s husband, Sean Brown, said he has paid out of pocket to care for the animals’ food and veterinarian bills. “This has been eating into my retirement, but this is her calling since her brother committed suicide.”

Brown said the dogs are only out of doors for five to 10 minutes to “do their business,” so they are not barking up the neighborhood. “If you shut us down maybe I can retire, but meantime the children are learning things; we have helped out Osborn Island by taking the cats from there. ... We also work with police officers. She’s doing her best.”

Gormley said he would meet with the Browns on Monday and “sit down and try to figure it out.”

“All we’re asking for is to save a few extra lives,” said Brown.

— Pat Johnson

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