As a courtesy to our SHPOA Members, we’re bringing you this summary of the Stone Harbor Work Session and Council Meeting on November 15, 2021.
CFO Jim Craft reviewed the remaining initial budget requests and added Parks and Playgrounds. Six departments asked for the same amount or less than in 2021. Two asked for 2-4% more. The fire company requested a 21% increase as they have added the EMS staff. Parks and playgrounds sought 21% to expand summer programs. This group of departments accounted for $185,00 in requested increases.
Fire Department Report
Fire Chief Roger Stanford said year-to-date there have been 435 fire calls and 630 EMS calls. He would like to have Council consider raising the pay rate of the EMS staff to match that of fire and police personnel.
Police Chief Tom Schutta reported 88 traffic stops. Two Special Law Enforcement Officers (SLEOs) will start in December and will attend the police academy through mid-April. He also noted that the merging of the Stone Harbor and Avalon courts is proceeding smoothly.
Beach Tag Costs
Beach Patrol Captain Sandy Bosacco stated that beach tags would be sold over Thanksgiving weekend at Borough Hall. In later discussion, the council debated and then passed a resolution raising the beach tag prices as follows: holiday badge $32; preseason badge $32; season badge after May 31st $40; weekly badge $17; and daily badge $8. Councilman Reese Moore reminded the group that these funds help defray the cost of the beach patrol and beach taggers.
Recreation Director Tina Prickett said they will again be offering Move ‘n Groove on Wednesdays at the pavilion. Ninety houses participated in Halloween trick or treat evening.
Starting this week, an after-school arts and crafts program will run for 10 weeks. Pickle ball courts will stay open and paddle tennis continues.
Jenny Olsen, Tourism Director, outlined plans for the Thanksgiving holiday weekend. “Elf Holiday” will include a pet parade, a carousel, caroling by the clock, and the traditional evening parade. (For more info see the Borough’s webpage https://stoneharbornj.org).
For Natural Resources, the Executive Director of the Wetlands Institute, Dr. Lenore Tedesco, provided an update on the Bird Sanctuary. They are currently treating non-native plants and tracking marsh flooding. Planting designs for the new pump house area are completed. Tedesco was pleased to announce that, after a two-year hiatus, the New Jersey Department of Corrections will restart their program of providing help cleaning out vines and other invasive plants.
Courts Zoning Postponed
The discussion of the ordinance creating a residential Zone D that would apply to the three courts and Linden Lane was halted by Steven Morris, attorney from the law firm of Marcus Karavan, the borough’s solicitor. He explained that only hours before the meeting, an anonymous letter of protest against this ordinance was received along with 103 signed letters. Morris stated that the discussion must be tabled, and he would immediately start to work verifying that these are all legitimately affected landowners. He believes this issue can be dealt with at the next meeting. Eight residents spoke to council expressing their dismay at this letter’s prolonging of a four-year-long process.
The zoning change would allow homeowners on the courts and Linden Lane to add a second story to their homes. Those in favor say owners could expand basic living space such as moving a washer/dryer inside the house, add another bedroom or a half-bath. Those opposed say emergency vehicles have trouble accessing the courts, developers would buy the properties to build bigger houses, and that would create more parking problems.
Water Rates, Charging Stations and More
The following resolutions were approved by Council: the new schedule of water rates and fees; approval to seek a grant from the New Jersey Board of Public Utilities for two charging stations for police use; the hiring of two new SLEO officers; approval to use the water tower parking for the borough’s Thanksgiving holiday market; and limiting the use of borough property for private events to only non-profits acting within the scope of their purpose as well as the beach tag price increases discussed earlier.
Last, the ordinance to start the process of putting the water meter project out to bid was approved with possible awarding of the bid at the December 21 meeting.
For documents referenced in this meeting, please click: https://stoneharbornj.org/wp-content/uploads/2021/11/November-15-2021.pdf
To view a recording of the meeting, please click: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=EOq4K7J1VaE