New Ground Rules Coming for Pavers in Barnegat Light

Water Meter Installation Discussed
By MARIA SCANDALE | Nov 15, 2017
File Photo by Jack Reynolds

Barnegat Light is revising its zoning ordinances to require a zoning permit for all impervious ground coverage surfaces, including pavers. The ordinance was introduced on first reading Nov. 8. It involves an inspection where none had been mandated before.

Explained Municipal Clerk Brenda Kuhn, “Right now, there is no permit required to put pavers on your property, and we don’t have to inspect it. We put this in the zoning code that it has to be inspected, so that we can be sure that they’re doing it correctly.”

Part of the reason coincides with the pending water meter installation project. “They’re not supposed to be covering the meter pits with the pavers,” Kuhn reiterated, but there are cases where even after told, “they just put pavers right over it anyway.”

The new rule states: No construction, alteration, or excavation for any building or other structure, nor any use of building or land, nor addition or alteration of impervious coverage surfaces, shall be begun without the issuance of a permit by the Zoning Officer indicating that the proposal is in compliance with the provisions (of the zoning code). The impervious coverage must comply with all rules for setbacks, including sideyard and backyard, before a certificate of occupancy will be issued. The inspection will come at a $50 fee, as set forth in another ordinance.

The proposed amendment will be referred to the town planning board and would take effect immediately upon its enactment by the borough council after a second reading and public hearing. The final council meeting of the year is Dec. 13.

Another ordinance was introduced, to revise zoning permit fees to the following: sign permits, $50; residential single-family dwelling of new construction, $150; expansion of dwelling by alteration or addition to existing structure, $75; business and multifamily new construction, $200; and others.

“They hadn’t been raised for a long time,” said Kuhn.

Zoning/Code Enforcement Officer Jeffrey Washburn had discussed an update based on higher fees charged by other municipalities. The borough is setting the new fees midway between the two.

Dredging Update,

Water Meter Talk

Among updates at the meeting, channel dredging is advancing to where the work will reach the boat ramp area, which is named Barnegat Light Stake Channel, the last week of November, according to information given to Councilman Ed Wellington by the contractor.

“They are basically on track to start our channel the last week of November, and they have to have it done by Dec. 31,” Wellington said at the meeting.

The overall project for dredging Double Creek Mainland, Double Creek Inlet, High Bar Harbor Channel and Barnegat Light Stake Channel is to alleviate shoaling that worsened severely due to Superstorm Sandy.

The dredged material from the boat ramp area is slated to be deposited at Barnegat Lighthouse State Park. A pipeline will carry the sand, mixed with water, from the dredging site around the north end of the Island, past Andy’s At the Light and past the lighthouse, to the state park where it will be used as fill, Wellington said.

Describing where the dredged material is going at the park, Wellington said, “If you go in from the end of the Boulevard and then follow the sandy road out about 50 to 75 yards from the end of the road, that’s where it’s going to go.”

A state park administrator said the lighthouse will remain open for visitors on weekends, yet there may be some issues to access the walkway during the deposit of the dredged material. Specifics will be listed on the website of the state park when they are determined by the state.

A previous announcement by the state Department of Transportation said channel use may be limited where the dredge is in operation. Channel closures were not expected, but that is subject to change.

Also at the borough council meeting, taxpayers association President John Tennyson congratulated council election winners Dottie Reynolds and Mary Ellen Foley. Reynolds is the incumbent, and Foley is a planning board member who has been attending nearly every council meeting.

“We look forward to a continued, professional relationship,” Tennyson said.

Another matter of discussion at the meeting concerned a resident’s unease about the electronic water metering system that the borough plans to install, similar to those in Harvey Cedars, Ship Bottom and elsewhere. The borough entered into an interlocal services agreement with Stafford Township to read the “smart meters” remotely.

One person who has raised questions over electromagnetic frequency emission is a full-time resident who shared information with the taxpayers association. However, for clarification, Tennyson said at the council meeting that the taxpayers association is taking no position in the matter. He suggested that the concerned party discuss the matter with the  council.

During and after the meeting last week, Mayor Kirk Larson said the borough will probably allow “opting out” of the smart meter installation, but those residents would have to pay a fee for a worker to go to the property and read an analog meter manually.

“Since a choice exists, there is no need for us to take a position,” Tennyson told The SandPaper this week.

“Some people think that these meters are cancer-producing,” Larson explained at the meeting.

Council President Michael Spark, chairman of the council’s water and sewer committee, urged people to research for themselves why there is reason for assurance. He cited the American Cancer Society website, which says, in part, “Because, the amount of RF radiation you could be exposed to from a smart meter is much less than what you could be exposed to from a cell phone, it is very unlikely that living in a house with a smart meter increases risk of cancer.”

The website goes on to say, “It would be nearly impossible to conduct a study to prove or disprove” a link because there are other sources of exposure in a home. “... and the level of exposure from this source is so small. ... The World Health Organization has promised to conduct a formal assessment of the risks from RF exposure but this report is not yet available.”

Spark asserted that the Sensus brand meters are “in the ground, on our property, 25 feet away from the house,” and that they transmit “a millisecond every six hours, powered by two double-A batteries.”

“I’ll be glad to hear a person out, but do your own research,” Spark urged. “If you go on the website about Sensus, or Neptune, the majority of the articles on fire and radiation is on house meters smart electric meters, not water meters,” he added.

“Go in with an open mind and read all the literature; don’t just read the literature that says it’s bad. Read the literature that says it’s not conclusive. Go read it yourself and make your own intellectual decisions yourself before you get caught up in the hysteria as of the cell phone days. Remember the hystrionics that took place on cancer-producing cell phones? ... Now everybody and their brother, including a little 3-year-old, has his own cell phone. And there’s just no conclusive proof by the (American) Cancer Society that these things cause cancer.”

Spark said after the meeting, “We are going to start later this month putting in the 78 commercial meters. We contracted with Stafford Township, and they’re going to install the 78 remote readouts for the commercial customers.”

mariascandale@thesandpaper.net

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