Tuckerton Seeks Compromise on Municipal Parking Lot Spaces

Nov 28, 2018

The continuing struggle over the use of parking spaces in Tuckerton’s North Green Street municipal lot adjacent to the Tuckerton Firehouse and the Dynasty Diner again came up for discussion during the Nov. 19 municipal meeting. Recently, the fire company was given permission by town ordinance to stripe eight parking spots for use by its volunteers, who need a place to park in the event of a fire or ambulance call. But the diner owner has hired an attorney to look into the original language of the deed that gave the property to the borough for use as a parking lot for local businesses.

The question was, said Borough Attorney Christopher Connors, whether the town wanted to avoid litigation by meeting with the diner’s management to resolve the issue. “The town needs to provide emergency responders with a place to park while remaining sensitive to the needs of the business owner,” said Connors. “The fire company can continue to maintain eight parking spots but place them in a different configuration.”

The compromise would mean the fire company would stack parking (park one car behind another) in two places, freeing up two or three more spaces for business needs.

“In no way are we going to repeal the ordinance (that created the firehouse parking), as we have to have the ability of our first responders to respond,” said Connors.

The mayor and council will continue this discussion at the next meeting.

Tuckerton is preparing to invite communications antennas for use of its newly painted water tower on South Green Street, and Councilman John Schwartz asked Connors to explain the process and prepare bid documents.

Connors said the borough could lease space on the tower during a public auction once it knows what its minimum acceptable bid would be. The length of a lease for a wireless communications tower is usually five years, he said, with rental payments due to the government every month.

Connors said some municipalities also reserve a radio tower obligation for their emergency services. He noted that currently there are few communications companies looking to rent tower space, but if a cell tower company has approached the borough, the government should find out from them its terms and conditions might be before putting the lease out for bid.

“It’s not likely that you’ll have a commitment before the end of the year, so you can’t put it (tower rental) as anticipated revenue in the budget,” said Connors.

Councilman Keith Vreeland said the water tower at the Seaview Hotel in Galloway Township, where he is facility manager, had four cell antennas on it. Connors said he would defer to the borough engineer to determine the type of load Tuckerton’s water tower could handle. He also noted that each provider has to have a space on the ground for its ancillary equipment, consisting of a generator and trailer, usually between 200 and 400 square feet.

Connors suggested adding a square footage of land to the lease so that every communications company would be bidding on the same specifications.

The public works department is getting its own emergency generator, funded through a 2018 FEMA Hazard Mitigation grant; the council voted to award the $87,700 generator bid to BN Inc.

Council President Sam Colangelo announced public works would be closed on Sundays starting on Dec. 2 and will reopen on Sundays beginning April 2.

He also said the Thanksgiving community dinner hosted by the Tuckerton Red Men Pohatcong Tribe 61 and the Degree of Pocahontas held on Nov. 18 was a success, with 67 cooked turkeys and the fixins’ – enough to feed 1,188 diners. The first event was held in 2000 and started by Tom and Ginny Hartley, Colangelo noted.

— Pat Johnson

patjohnson@thesandpaper.net

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