Tuckerton Residents Dislike Heron Road Utilities Project

Aug 07, 2018

A larger than normal crowd of Tuckerton residents attended the Aug. 6 municipal meeting and most who spoke had complaints against the construction company replacing water and sewer lines on Heron Road.

In February, the borough approved a $1,846,840 contract for P and A Construction of Colonia, a firm specializing in such work.

There have been a number of interruptions to the residents’ water supply; one water line break lasted about a day this summer. In addition, Tracey Taylor and her daughter Andrea complained bitterly about damage to their BMW vehicle from the rough going on the torn-up street.

“Heron Road is a mess,” said Tracey Taylor. “We have to wait 15 to 20 minutes to get down our street. And my car got a flat.”

“I was three inches from the ditch, and still they flagged me on,” said her daughter Andrea. “My front end is smashed. We feel like prisoners.”

Her mother added, “Our neighbors had raw sewage in their yard. It’s unacceptable. I’m appalled at where I live!”

“We’re terribly sorry you’ve been inconvenienced,” said Mayor Sue Marshall.

Another Heron Road resident said the road was not passable and they had to drive on private property when they were flagged through after waiting 20 minutes. “Is this how it is going to be when they replace the water line?”

He also said he saw a worker relieve himself in the bushes on private property. He called the police and Marshall said that was the correct thing to do.

Marshall said the company has put two portable toilets at the beginning of the street. The resident answered that the worker was too lazy to walk back.

“There have been multiple breaks,” he added. “Should we be concerned about cross contamination? Should we drink bottled water?”

Business Administrator/ Borough Clerk Jenny Gleghorn said there was only one water main break. The water was tested and approved by the NJ Department of Environmental Protection and the health department when it was fixed.

A call to P and A Construction for comment about these issues was not returned as of press time.

The discussion at Monday night’s meeting turned to the South Green Street Park. The park has reopened but was still not turned over to the borough from K and G Marine, which is fixing a bulkhead hole caused by a drunken boater who police say stole the private boat and rammed it into the bulkhead on July 4.

Paul “Skip” Deckman of Marine Street, an Independent candidate for borough council, said he would like to donate eight fish cleaning stations to the park so people won’t be tempted to cut fish on the new bulkhead decking. “What do we have to do? Can we empty the water into the bay or into the sewer?” he asked.

Gleghorn said he should wait until they get the park turned back over to the borough.

Council President Sam Colangelo asked what he intended people to do with the fish innards.

“Well, we could have a bucket for them,” thought Deckman. “Or we could put a sign that says, ‘Take Your Guts with You.’”

Councilman John Schwartz said the old park used to have rod holders on the piling. He is working with John Bethanis to figure out a way to attach about 50 rod holders. He suggested cutting holes in the decking.

Students from Rutgers had contributed and installed a dozen or so metal crabs along the bulkhead that indicate how big a crab must be to be legal for keeping.

Deckman asked why they had gotten permission for their crab markers but his fish-cutting stations have to wait.

At any rate, Deckman thanked the borough for finishing the park. “It’s beautiful; a lot better than I expected.”

On a good note, Councilwoman Doris Mathisen said the town is getting back $21,000 in a change order from K and G Marine for the South Green Street Park project because Tuckerton’s public works department installed the water and sewer hookups for the portable bathrooms.

The discussion shifted to shoreline restoration. Schwartz, liaison to the Waterways Commission, has been working on this project for more than five years, he said. The borough council approved hiring BRS Consultants to look for grants to supplement the water quality and restoration grants they received from the NJDEP. BRS will get $2,500 to do that.

“We need a grant to pay for the engineering to continue the revetment (stone gabion baskets) around Flamingo Lagoon and out to the 1977 tide line. And also we can add de-watered dredge material behind it and then plant spartina meadow grass. Then we want to stop the silt from leaving Lanyard Lagoon and filling in Kingfisher and Heron lagoons by adding a bulkhead or some kind of revetment.”

Maritime Marina owner Eric Hansen asked why the borough had to do the dredging and maintenance of the lagoons since the state NJDEP charges for riparian rights and, “For every piling you put in the mud.”

Borough attorney Chris Connors agreed it wasn’t fair but that, unless the developer of Tuckerton Beach had transferred rights on the man-made lagoons to the owners of property fronting them, the lagoons are a kind of no-man’s land – not owned by the state or the town.

If natural waterways had flowed where the property or lagoon is now, then the property owner has to purchase riparian rights or lease them from the state. Natural waterways like Tuckerton Creek are owned by the state and require riparian leases.

On the subject of shoreline restoration of South Green Street beaches, Schwartz was asked if the property being filled by beach sand at the end of South Green Street is privately owned. The answer is yes, it is owned by Angelo Micalizzi, and he has given permission for the borough to fill the two parcels.

When asked if it was proper to use public funds (grant money from the National Fish and Wildlife Federation) to enhance private property, Schwartz said the land could not be built on because it would not fit the zoning laws. “It’s only 30 feet wide and it’s shoreline restoration; to protect the shore.”

When asked if the owner will mind people using it as public access, Schwartz said the public has been using it all along for kayaking and to exercise their dogs.

— Pat Johnson


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