Little Egg Harbor Enlists Nonprofit for Post-Sandy Planning

New Jersey Future Offers No-Cost Recovery Manager
Jul 18, 2013

Little Egg Harbor Township officials passed a resolution Thursday night that enables them to enter into a partnership with a nonprofit agency to help plan their post-Sandy recovery.

The resolution asks New Jersey Future to assign a recovery planning manager, at no cost to the town, to help Little Egg Harbor staff implement a long-term recovery and rebuilding process.

The manager will work at least a year, guiding the township in planning principals that take into account sea-level rise and future storm events. The long-term recovery will “balance the need for development and redevelopment with the necessity to protect critical natural resources; avoid, minimize or mitigate risk and break cycles of repetitive loss,” according to the resolution passed at the regular municipal meeting.

David Kutner of New Jersey Future is a certified planner licensed in New Jersey and nationally. In a phone interview on Tuesday, he attempted to explain his initial role as recovery planning manager. New Jersey Future has access to recovery funding from, “the MERk Foundation, the New Jersey Recovery Fund and a conglomeration of a variety of nonprofits that pooled their money to provide funding for the Sandy Relief Effort,” said Kutner. “We will provide direct assistance up to three years in the community to assist the township with applying for federal and state programs and develop a plan for long-term recovery.”

Kutner said his group would also work hand in hand with the Federal Emergency Management Agency and the township officials as they rethink development patterns – a concept that, he said, was not necessarily, “a retreat from the shore.”

“It’s a way of building that will be more resilient,” he said. “There are a variety of issues, including the loss of ratables. Our role is to work with the community and other partners to find ways to deal with these things in the long run,” said Kutner.

The planning principals in the resolution include promoting mixed-use development that is compact and conserves land, while building suitable designs and densities that support walking, biking and public transportation; supporting construction and rehabilitation of homes for all income groups; protect the environment; and engage the community in the planning and land use decisions.

Also during the July 11 meeting, Mayor John Kehm and the township committee expressed sadness at the death of their long-time, Democratic adversary Ricco Gelmetti. He was a former township committeeman and planning board member.

“He was a gentlemen who had the power of his convictions,” said Committeeman Gene Kobryn. “There were many times he pointed his finger and said, ‘Let me tell you…’ But he became a friend, and was a true example of ‘democracy in action.’ And I thank him for all he did for the township.”

— Pat Johnson

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