Tuckerton 2014 Construction Report Shows Sandy Recovery Progressing

Jan 29, 2015

The Tuckerton borough construction office took in $251,331 in revenue for 2014 with $231,441 from construction and zoning permits and inspections, proving the borough is moving ahead with rebuilding after Superstorm Sandy. Councilwoman Doris Mathesin said 301 construction permits were issued, 1,437 inspections completed and 383 code enforcement actions taken.

Mathisen said 129 buildings have been elevated to the FEMA base flood elevation or above BFE as required by town ordinance, and 42 houses were demolished in 2014. The 2014 report was completed by construction official Phil Reed for the Jan. 20 municipal meeting.

Mayor Sue Marshall said the report was “quite impressive.”

Freshman Councilman Michael Santo reported that he had met with Tuckerton Volunteer Fire Co. Chief Lee Eggert Jr. and was told the volunteer organization had responded to 141 first aid calls in the borough in 2014. “I was pretty amazed by the number; they are doing a good job,” said Santo.

Marshall said she and Santo had attended a training workshop for new municipal officials held by the New Jersey League of Municipalities. In order to make sure she and the council uphold the Sunshine Laws as outlined in the Open Public Meetings Act, she suggested the council set aside the first part of the meeting for discussion among members on any subject that needs to be aired. The council was in agreement and the mayor went first.

Marshall said she had met with OCEAN Inc. Director Ted Gooding and he was interested in talking to the borough council about a new housing initiative to help the homeless by providing Tiny Houses. She asked if the council was interested in pursuing it.

Councilman Edwards suggested Gooding come before the council to present the program, and Borough Attorney Kevin Quinlan suggested members of the land use board be present if a meeting is scheduled.

Marshall said she was pleased to see changes at the borough public works yard. “My husband went there, and he was met by an employee, Rusty Mathis, and given a paper with recycling information.”

Council President Sam Colangelo said Mathis is the recycling coordinator, and that was one of the changes they were working on at the borough yard: to have someone meet each car and have the driver sign in. “We are going to be redirecting the traffic flow into the yard so cars will be close by the public works office,” said Colangelo. “We are stressing recycling because we get money back from the county for the materials.”

Colangelo said the county is now accepting rigid plastics (like those that make up toys or other household items), and Public Works would be doing bulk pickups on Thursdays. “We want people to call the office at 609-296-5058 to schedule pickup and not just put things like sofas and appliances on the curb.

“Let’s work together on this,” he told the public.

“We will be looking at everything in the borough to make everything more efficient,” added Marshall.

Councilman Jim Edwards is now chairman of the legislation committee and said his committee is looking at condensing a boat ordinance – a process that had been set aside after Sandy hit the borough – and making it more user-friendly. “Our conclusion is it is too specific, so specific it is hampering implementation,” he said.

Councilman John Schwartz attended the meeting via Skype as he is in Florida for the winter. Schwartz said the grant and loan being worked on by New Jersey Future for the lagoon dredging, shoreline improvements and improvements to South Green Street Park were moving forward. “RFQs (request for quotes) have gone out for an architect.”

Colangelo asked if the clock was ticking on the project; Schwartz said it wouldn’t start ticking until the permits are pulled, and then they would have two years to finish. “That’s why we are doing everything first so that when we pull the permits, we can hit the ground running.”

Edwards asked if it was true that they had missed a deadline and Schwartz said the deadline was in January.

Police Chief Michael Caputo said the police department took delivery on a new Chevy Tahoe that was paid for by a USDA grant. He said the police are also working on keeping vehicles from parking and blocking traffic when they are picking up or dropping off students at the Tuckerton Elementary School . He said the board of education must work to find a permanent solution.

During the public portion of the meeting, Gerard Schultz from Tuckerton Beach said that after extreme high tide events he had witnessed some residents dumping the eelgrass and meadow grass that gets deposited on their property into the lagoons. This practice will make the lagoons shallower, and he asked if a town ordinance prohibiting the practice could be created. He also asked that the borough do something to make construction crews who are finished with projects to get the trash bins moved more rapidly.

Emergency Management Director Harold Spedding said his department had received a 966 grant from the nuclear power plant and had spent it on a 6-foot by 10-foot closed utility trailer to use during emergencies.

— Pat Johnson

patjohnson@thesandpaper.net

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