Tuckerton Ready to Start Road Construction in Tuckerton Beach

May 20, 2015

After a Saturday morning meeting with residents from four streets in Tuckerton Beach, Councilman John Schwartz said work will start soon on the projects to replace aging infrastructure in that part of town, funded by a $2 million bond with the New Jersey Infrastructure Trust Fund.

The first residents that will see their streets torn up are those living on Parker Road and Little Egg Harbor Boulevard; Schwartz said a reasonable timeline is in two weeks. Both roads were heavily impacted by the storm surge from Superstorm Sandy that came in waves of 8 and 10 feet on Oct. 29, 2012, pushing houses off their foundations, some into nearby lagoons.

Subsequent heavy machinery used to demolish houses and more machinery to rebuild some on pilings may have contributed to the sewer and water main ruptures that followed. Completely new water and sewer lines will also be installed under Dolphin and Marlin roads, and the replacement of a water interconnect with Little Egg Harbor that runs under Tuckerton Creek is past the drawing board stage. Construction on that must start soon so the borough’s only water tower, on South Green Street, can be drained, cleaned and painted inside and out. These projects should be completed during the summer and into the fall of this year, said Schwartz at the Monday, May 18, municipal meeting.

He also said roads will remain open, and water service may be disrupted on some days, but never overnight. He suggested residents check with the website tuckertonborough.com from time to time to get updates as projects progress.

“Expect some inconveniences down the beach,” said Mayor Sue Marshall. “Be patient; our town will be better off for it.”

Also on the drawing board are the dredging and refilling of some defunct lagoons in Tuckerton Beach and Paradise Cove and shoreline restoration.

Survey boats have already gone down all the lagoons taking depth measurements and soil samples. Schwartz, Little Egg Harbor Business Administrator Garrett Loesch (who is also temporary business administrator for the borough), and Dave Fuller from the Osborn Island Residents Association had gone to Trenton to meet with members of the state Department of Environmental Protection, New Jersey Future, Princeton Hydro and a Toms River official.

“Little Egg, Tuckerton and Toms River are the first communities chosen to be resilient coastal communities,” said Schwartz. “We’ll be the model communities used up and down the Jersey coast.”

Schwartz was referring to the practice of “thin layer deposition” by which dredge materials are broadcast over living marsh in hopes of raising the profile of the marsh, while not smothering it.

The Little Egg Harbor Boulevard peninsula that needs shoring up will most likely be built up with rocks in cages, though Schwartz would prefer a living shoreline: rafts of mussel or oyster shells that could attract other shellfish.

Little Egg Harbor is proposed to have areas of living shoreline along Iowa Court on Osborn Island, the marshes off Graveling Point and the outside bay marshes at the entrance to Great Bay Marina.

Otherwise, dredge material could be located at former disposal sites along the entrance to Tuckerton Creek, the old Lanyard lagoon and lagoon systems that were dug but never connected to Thompson Creek over by Paradise Cove. Maps of these proposed sites are at the old borough hall.

This major project is being funded by a $2.13 million grant from the National Fish and Wildlife Foundation and must be completed in two years, or by February 2017, said Schwartz.

The Coast Guard Auxiliary Flotilla 72 was on hand to receive a proclamation for Safe Boating Week. Commander Walter Wubbenhorst said the flotilla is aware that there are problems with shoaling in the Little Egg Harbor inlet, and the auxiliary will be doing all it can to inform boaters.

The borough council approved a new contract with the International Union of Operating Engineers, Local 68, which bargains for the public works and water and sewer utility workers. The three-year contract is retroactive and calls for an annual 2 percent raise. The borough asked for the give-back of no longevity for new hires.

The borough council set the standard prices for police officers performing private duty in the borough at $75 an hour with the officer receiving $65 and the borough $10 for administrative costs. The nonprofit Tuckerton Seaport organization was given a break; it will pay $50 an hour for officers on duty during events, and the borough forfeited any fee.

Borough Attorney Kevin Quinlan said there are a number of ordinances that he is preparing for the council to peruse, including a tethering law that would prohibit leaving dogs out all night or in extremes of weather; and changes to the code book including a change to requiring a site plan when a business is increasing its footprint by 1,000 feet or less and is not adding parking or additional load to the building and no variances are needed. Quinlan said Little Egg Harbor and Surf City have made these exceptions to keep costs down for businesses that want to expand.

The Tuckerton Police Department has also asked that the council make an exception to the rule that prohibits them from taking extra jobs anywhere in the state while they are on the force. Quinlan said an officer would like to be an ID checker in a bar in Point Pleasant to gain additional income and can’t because of the existing ordinance.

After the business administrator announced that the land use board meeting scheduled for June was canceled because it had no business, Jill Richmond stood during the public portion of the meeting and harangued the officials for “turning a deaf ear” to the plight of her aging parents, whose yard and home are being flooded by a commercial development next door that has proceeded to build and expand the business but has left the stormwater improvements for last.

Richmond said they have been to the land use board numerous times and told to go to the council and then told to go to the board, and she feels she is being “ping-ponged” between them. “Government shouldn’t be operating like this; it’s wrong,” she said. “There is no follow-through with these projects.”

— Pat Johnson


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