US Army Corp of Engineers (USACE) Back Bay Study
The USACE Back Bay Study focuses on identifying methods to reduce coastal storm risk from Monmouth County south to Cape May. The study began in 2016 and is expected to be completed in 2023 with construction to commence in 2030 pending funding approval. Cost of the study is 50% Federal and 50% NJ State with no Stone Harbor municipal cost for the study. The plan is expected to include storm surge barriers at the major inlets, construction of natural barriers, horizontal levies, island expansions, and dune enhancements. The raising of evacuation streets and homes is expected to be part of this plan. It is anticipated that the municipal cost for construction would be 25% of the NJ State plan or about 8.75 cents on the dollar. Flood walls of 14ft that were in a prior version have now been eliminated.
Public Works Recruiting
Recruiting for seasonal employees continues to be a challenge in this environment. Public Works only has nine seasonal employees instead of 20 for Solid Waste, so only one set of trucks is currently running. In addition, Grounds Maintenance is short two, Janitorial is short four, and Beach Maintenance is short two. Aggressive recruiting continues.
Boil Water Advisory
On behalf of the Council and Borough, Councilperson Reese Moore apologized for the drinking water issue in late May and thanked everyone for their cooperation and assistance. He reported that a miscommunication between the contractor and Public Works triggered the NJ Department of Environmental Protection to require the Borough to issue the boil water advisory with the community being informed via the CodeRED emergency notification system as well as social media. It was lifted 24 hours after it started. He also encouraged all residents and visitors to sign-up for the CodeRED system (Please sign up using this link). Geo-fencing systems as an additional emergency alert system was also discussed as a possible approach and will be researched further.
The Memorial Benches program started about 10 years ago is currently on hold. A decision was made to keep the program on hold pending “cleaning up” the ordinance to clarify what happens after the 10-year period for a given bench expires.
In Construction and Zoning, there were substantially higher permit fees than comparative periods through May in the three prior years driven by increased plans submitted for building, including those for the Villa Maria development. The Stone Harbor Beach Opening Color Run was a big success and was even covered on CBS news (which can be seen in the embedded video at https://cbsloc.al/2RWFt4k).
Council Meeting Public Comments
Local residents shared their perspectives regarding geo-fencing emergency alert systems and the process by which a sidewalk dining permit was issued in an area that had mixed residential and commercial uses. The Borough agreed to look into these. A resident raised concerns about the Oersted wind power project and potential lighting needs for airplanes, and marine traffic. The Mayor assured him that a full review of both sides of the issue was on-going.
Select Resolutions that were approved:
Adoption of the 2021 Cape May County Hazard Mitigation Plan.
Bids going out on June 7th for the Stone Harbor New Lifeguard Building with bids being opened at 10 a.m. on June 30th and possible award of contract at the July 6th Council meeting.
Saturday evening services for St Mary’s Episcopal Church at the 101st Street Beach Pavilion between July 10th and August 28th with services at 5:30pm for 45 mins.
After a discussion in closed private session, for “matters related to the purchase, lease or acquisition of real property with public funds”, a resolution was approved to authorize the Mayor to execute an agreement of sale for the purchase of Block 985 Lots 1 and 4 in Middle Township, Cape May County for $1.9 million.
To view documents from the meeting, please follow this link: https://stoneharbornj.org/wp-content/uploads/2021/05/June-1-2021.pdf
To view a video of the meeting, please follow this link: https://youtu.be/mrxtBgW6mG0
If you are not already a member of SHPOA and own property in Stone Harbor, please join SHPOA by clicking https://www.stoneharborpoa.org/join/