Work Session Meeting
As a courtesy to our SHPOA Members, we’re bringing you this summary of the Stone Harbor Council Meeting on April 6, 2021.
Outfall Pipes on 111th and 114th Streets
At its Work Session on April 6, 2021, Borough Engineer Cody Stanford responded to a letter from area homeowners who are concerned with the visual detriment and safety hazard of the outfall pipes. The Borough plans to remove the pipes and reroute them towards the bay. Currently, the removal project is in the permitting and design phase, being coordinated with the Villa Maria project, and is expected to go out for bid in the fall of 2022. Members discussed shortening the pipe at 111th St. in advance of the removals, but due to the time required for permitting and execution, it was deemed not feasible to be accomplished prior to the complete removal of the pipes in 2022.
Permit for Tent on Public Property
There was a lengthy discussion regarding a request from homeowners to erect a 30’x 80’ tent on the street next to their home at 10559 Third Avenue for a family memorial service in May. Because this is public property, the request requires approval by the Council. Council asked questions regarding the specifics of the event (number of people, insurance, alcohol, music, etc.) and the precedent that could be set by allowing use of public property for private events (in-season/off-season, liability for damage to public property, the availability of other venues, etc.). Members decided to get answers from the applicant, have further discussion, and then introduce a motion at their next meeting in two weeks.
SHPOA Bike Rack and Repair Station Project
Reflecting Stone Harbor’s bike-friendly character, the Stone Harbor Property Owners Association (SHPOA) has proposed purchasing four bike racks and two bike repair stations to be installed at various locations in the Borough. It is seeking an in-kind waiver to have Public Works employees perform the installations. The bike racks would alleviate the eyesore and inconvenience of bikes piled up at beach entry locations. Repair stations would allow bikers to fill tires or make simple adjustments.
SHPOA identified several possible beach-entry locations for the bike racks and two locations for the repair stations. The proposal was circulated to all Department heads and most feedback was positive. There was concern that the repair stations might need electricity to operate which could pose a problem. A follow-up meeting to discuss specifics of the project was scheduled to be held with SHPOA and Borough representatives.
Back Passing Sand
The last big storm resulted in significant beach sand losses between 104th and 111th Streets. SHPOA suggested investigating whether sand could be moved (back passed) from areas with large amounts of sand to the depleted beaches. Environmental specialist Chris Constantino explained that, although Avalon and Wildwood have the capacity, Stone Harbor does not have enough sand on the beaches to back pass.
SHPOA Trustee Geoff Woolery, during public comment, emphasized the need to find solutions to beach erosion and beach protections in general. He requested a meeting with Borough staff and/or Council members to explore these issues.
At its regular April 6, 2021 meeting, Council gave preliminary approval to an ordinance regulating cannabis. The ordinance prohibits possession of cannabis in public areas, and bans sales, cultivation, and manufacture. Deliveries (which must be in-person) can only be made by vehicles owned by state-licensed distributors, driven by their employees. Distributors must also be licensed by Stone Harbor. The Ordinance is scheduled for final passage on May 4.
On February 22, 2021 New Jersey legalized personal use of cannabis. (In November, Stone Harbor residents voted 302 to 198 in favor of legalizing marijuana.) Municipalities can establish their own rules for its use, distribution, and sales. Council wanted to act quickly to adopt an ordinance to prohibit public consumption of marijuana in order to have it in place for Memorial Day. Members also wanted to establish the most restrictive ordinance possible because counsel advised the Mayor that an ordinance, once adopted, could not be amended to be made more restrictive. However, it can at any time be made less restrictive.
Under the law, the ordinance in place on August 22 must remain as it is for five years (except to be made less restrictive). Also, all sales and distribution can be prohibited with the exception of delivery, which must be allowed but can be regulated.
Council rescinded its earlier draft budget and introduced a new budget with the following changes:
▪The current fund decreased to $19,346,373.49 – a decrease of $442,866 (2.24%), of which $400,000 came from the beach and bay reserve and $42,866 from decreases in salaries and wages.
▪The tax levy decreased by $412,000 (2.79%) to $14,262,000.
▪The tax rate decreased from $0.305 to $ 0.291.
Additionally, Councilpersons Jennifer Gensemer and Reese Moore voiced concerns about the budget process. Councilperson Moore set out six objectives to be addressed by the Borough Administrator and Chief Financial Officer. He requested that the financial officer draw up recommendations on how to improve the budget process, prepare a 10-year financial plan and a study on Borough debt. Other recommendations included a study on alternatives for trash collection, how to make beach patrol and taggers self-funding as well as a survey on salaries and new revenue sources. The Administration and Finance Committee will meet to prioritize and clearly state the objectives and prepare a timetable for the items.