Tuckerton Gets Easements to Begin Shoreline Restoration

May 06, 2015
Photo by: Pat Johnson At the end of Little Egg Harbor Boulevard in Tuckerton Beach are a number of lots that were sold in the 1960s but never built upon that are slowly eroding into the bay and the lagoon. The town has a grant to stabilize the shoreline here.

Tuckerton Mayor Susan Marshall announced that easements are ready to be signed to start the process of nourishing a salt marsh shoreline that has eroded at the end of Little Egg Harbor Boulevard in Tuckerton Beach. The marsh project is part of a $2.1 million National Fish and Wildlife Foundation grant awarded to Tuckerton and Little Egg Harbor for Shoreline Restoration through the efforts of the nonprofit New Jersey Future.

During the May 4 municipal meeting, the borough council adopted a resolution authorizing the mayor to sign off on the grant easements.

On Tuesday, Richard Zito said he was the last to sign the easements but was glad to do so because the lagoon he and his neighbors use to access Little Egg Harbor and Tuckerton bays is being filled up with mud from the eroding shoreline. “It’s almost impossible to get out if you have any kind of draft,” said Zito. He had increased his home’s protection from northeasterly storms by piling boulders he had brought from a farm he owns in upstate New York. Because he owns a trucking firm, he could do this more easily than the typical homeowner in Tuckerton Beach.

During the May 4 meeting, Councilman John Schwartz, still telecommunicating by Skype from Florida, said the project is proceeding on schedule.

Borough Clerk and Administrator Jenny Gleghorn said the borough has received a $21,000 New Jersey Department of Environment Protection grant for Comprehensive Coastal Community Plan Development that New Jersey Future helped to get. New Jersey Future will use the money to create the plan that will be eventually included in the town’s Master Plan, saving the borough money. The $21,000 is a portion of the total grant of $209,000 that was shared among Tuckerton, Little Egg Harbor and Toms River, said Gleghorn.

Rebuilding after Superstorm Sandy continues to bring money to the construction department. Councilwoman Doris Mathisen said the office brought in $23,819 during April, performed 145 construction inspections and processed 87 permits. Code enforcement did 30 inspections.

Councilman Sam Colangelo said the water and sewer department needed a new routing machine for small drains and jobs; the council approved awarding the bid to Grant Supply Inc. for $3,708.

Councilman Mike Santos said the “Truck”erton food truck event at the Tuckerton Seaport this weekend was a success. “On the first day they had 3,000 (people), and on Sunday they had 2,500. It was a great time for everyone.”

Mayor Marshall said visitors gave their ZIP Codes as they entered the Seaport, and every state in the United States except one was represented. Police Chief Michael Caputo said there were no incidents that required police action, and he thanked Ocean County Sheriff Mastronardy for sending a couple of sheriff’s officers to help with the traffic and crowd.

Santos reminded the public that the 4th of July committee is holding two fundraising events: a golf outing at Sea Oaks Golf Club on May 18 and a trip to a BluesClaws baseball game on June 19. Santos and JoAnne McAndrew have game tickets for sale.

Marshall asked Santos to ask the Pride and Celebration Committee if a town-wide yard sale is something it would like to organize in the future.

The council approved allowing Applebee’s and Ocean of Love to hold their half-marathon run down Great Bay Boulevard as they used to before Superstorm Sandy hit in 2012. The date is set for Oct. 25.

During the public portion of the meeting, neighbors to the east of the Yellow Brook Easy Street development again complained that not enough was being done to stop sand and dirt from a big pile of topsoil from blowing onto their properties. When the developer stripped the land bare of vegetation, he then scraped the topsoil into a large mound at least 12 feet high, and the sandy soil of the Pine Barrens is taken up in any kind of wind. Neighbors complained they can’t breathe while in their yards or keep the sand out of their houses. Some worried their summer would be ruined if it continued, as they couldn’t use their yards or swimming pools.

Borough Attorney Kevin Quinlan said there was nothing the town could do, as it is an ongoing construction site. He suggested the land use board was the only official body that could do something, though he had no suggestions as to what.

Carrie Skeie said she had contacted the Ocean County Soil Conservation District and was told that it had fined the developer, but besides installing a 3-foot-high silt fence around the perimeter, nothing else was done. “I was told to hire a lawyer, but I don’t think we should have to pay to do that.”

Augustine Romano said he and his wife were having the same problem with the blowing sand. He had pictures of sand drifts around his doors and windows that greeted the couple when they returned from Florida. “We’re elderly people who can’t get out and do the work. The borough or whoever, someone needs to call the NJDEP.”

Marshall said she would call land use board engineer Frank Little.

Quinlan added that they could complain to the governor since it was the permit extension act that allowed projects that were proposed six or seven years ago to go forward.

Skip Deckman from Marine Street had a complaint about his neighbors whom he said had a fistfight in the middle of the street and called his wife names. When the police came to break up the fight, no one was arrested because neither party wished to press charges. Deckman was floored. “Can’t you arrest them for disturbing the peace?” he asked. Quinlan said someone who had witnessed the fight would have to go to the police station and sign a complaint before that could be done.

Jill Richmond spoke up for her parents, who live on North Marine Street near a commercial development that is retrofitting an old building to be a new strip mall. The owner has not completed drainage improvements, and when it rains, their house is inundated with stormwater.

Marshall said she had talked with former borough engineer Jack Mallon about the problem, and he told her that because it was an active construction site, there was nothing the borough could do.

“That’s unacceptable,” said Richmond. “There’s no accountability.”

Marshall said she was sorry, but she didn’t have an answer for her.

Quinlan suggested the Richmonds go to the land use board again. “They can go on that property. The mayor or you or I can’t; we would be trespassing.”

— Pat Johnson

patjohnson@thesandpaper.net

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