As a courtesy to our SHPOA Members, we’re bringing you a summary of each Stone Harbor Work Session and Council Meeting. Intended as summaries, these intentionally don’t have a lot of details and are not a substitute for the official Borough minutes.
Borough Construction Officer Ray Poudrier expressed optimism that the Borough would be able to improve its ranking under FEMA’s flood control program and reduce the cost of flood insurance for Stone Harbor homeowners. He projected that the rating could be reduced from a 7 to a 5. Homeowners would be expected to receive a 5 percent reduction in insurance cost for every point removed. A meeting with FEMA to review the Borough’s standing under the Community Ranking System is scheduled for July 19.
The Borough will have 30 days to submit any additional documentation and a rating adjustment could be made as early as August.
Transportation Grant Award
Borough Engineer Marc DeBlasio announced that New Jersey awarded Stone Harbor a $175,000 grant from the state’s local transportation fund to be used for construction on 96th Street between Second and Third Avenues. He noted that the Borough had previously been awarded $200,000 in state municipal assistance funding for the project, bringing total grant support to $375,000.
Council Members expressed concerns regarding the number of parking tickets issued since Park Mobile replaced metered parking in Stone Harbor’s downtown area and emphasized that the change was not intended to increase revenue through enforcement. The selection of Park Mobile was intended to increase efficiency, bring Stone Harbor’s system in line with surrounding municipalities, and save the cost of kiosk replacement, according to the Council Members. Widespread news articles reported that about 600 tickets had been issued in May for parking violations. Violations increased in June with 915 tickets issued. Council Member Reese Moore stated that he would bring a motion to a vote during the council’s regular session that would suspend parking fees for a two-week period to institute changes to the program, which failed.
Mayor Judy Davies-Dunhour and Council Members spoke in support of increasing signage in the downtown area to make visitors and homeowners aware of the new system and assist them with using it.
Open Space Grant Funding
Borough Engineer Marc DeBlasio advised the Council that Cape May County recommended that the Borough withdraw its application for a $1.8 million grant award intended to be used for marina construction and reapply at a future date. He explained that withdrawal before the impending July deadline would allow the Borough to reapply for additional grant funding to support cost increases and to revise the proposal to include flood mitigation supported by FEMA grants. He suggested that a withdrawal would leave the Borough in better standing with the County, rather than failing to meet an extended deadline.
State Implementation Plan Agreement
Planning Board Engineer Paul Kates announced that New Jersey has determined that Stone Harbor’s planning implementation document is eligible for endorsement. He explained that the endorsement would align the Borough’s planning with the state’s long-term goals, making projects included in the plan more likely to receive state grants The redevelopment plan covers only projects that would be implemented in the business district and does not support redevelopment in residential areas. It lists 20 projects expected to be completed over several years concerning flood mitigation, sustainability, and green infrastructure to maintain the agreement. The plan will be under further discussion at the Borough’s Planning Board meeting on July 10. The Planning Board would need to endorse the document before a final vote by the Borough Council to allow the agreement with the state to go forward.
Administrator Manny Parada expressed concern that Stone Harbor water usage significantly increased over 2022 volume prior to the demanding summer months. He explained that in June usage was up over a million gallons (32 million gallons in June of last year to 33 million in June 2023). He reported that the annual total also increased from 71.3 million to date in 2022 to 78.3 million, which is 29 percent of Stone Harbor’s allocation for the year. Exceeding the allocation could make the Borough subject to fines.
96th Street Bridge Nighttime Closure
Administrator Prada announced that Cape May County plans to close the 96th Street Bridge for construction from July 10 to 14 between the hours of 10:00 PM to 6:00 AM.
Council approved a number of proposals including:
Ordinance 1650 – Adjusting the salary range for the Borough Administrator;
Resolution 2023-S-164 – Withdraw of Application for Cape May County Open Space Grant; and
Resolution 2023-S-168 – Appointment of Manual Parada as Borough Administrator with a vote of 5-1. Council Member Robin Casper voted no and Mayor Judith Davies-Dunhour, who only votes to break a tie, criticized the appointment.
A motion to institute a two-week suspension of parking fees was rejected.
To view legislation discussed at the meeting, please follow this link: http://stoneharbornj.org/wp-content/uploads/2023/06/Regular-Meeting-Agenda-7.3.23-1.pdf
To view a video of the meeting, please follow this link: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=gNvc4Pe0NeQ
To read past Stone Harbor Council Meeting summaries, please click here: https://www.stoneharborpoa.org/category/borough-meeting-summaries/
To watch recordings of past meetings, please click here: https://stoneharbornj.org/agendameetings/watch-mayor-and-council-meetings-online/