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.
Stone Harbor Museum Needs Volunteers
Mike Turner, VP of the Museum, reported the Museum is in very good shape with some challenges. The Museum welcomed 1,843 visitors in 2023, up 16% and 93% vs. 2022 and 2021, respectively. The Borough provides $30,500 in annual funding to the Museum, which subsidizes the salaries of a part-time Administrator and Curator. Turner discussed a current project involving the digitizing of all photos, which will be presented on the Museum’s website in 2024 (stoneharbormuseum.org). The Museum is seeking Volunteers, which is one of the biggest challenges at present.
Public Safety Fire Department – Fire Chief Roger Stanford reported 67 fire and 83 EMS responses during September. Weather related issues, particularly Hurricanes Lee and Ophelia, resulted in serious rip tides and flooding. Police Department – Police Chief Tom Schutta related there were 100 motor vehicle stops and 11 accidents in August. Beach Patrol – Captain Sandy Bosacco reported that post-Labor Day beach visits are increasing. Since lifeguard presence declines in September, it can be a dangerous time for swimmers and surfers on unguarded beaches. Of the 26 rescues that occurred in 2023, 19 were in September.
Recreation and Tourism – Shannon MacPherson, Recreation Director, advised that fitness classes will continue through the winter months. Jen Wilson, Tourism Director, reported as follows: A successful car show was held. 26 cars were entered, winners were chosen and pictures were posted on Facebook. The Island Holiday weekend will be held on November 24-25 this year.
Natural Resources – Marc DeBlasio, Borough Engineer, advised that a Stone Harbor Point survey is virtually complete and should be presented to the Council soon. An America Shore and Beach Preservation Association (“ASBPA”) National Meeting was held in Rhode Island on October 10 -13. Attendants from Stone Harbor included Geoff Woolery (SHPOA) and Marc DeBlasio, as well as Doug Gaffney (Mott McDonald). Ideas were shared to advance the goal of coastal protection nationwide. The 93rd to 95th Street pilot project using various valves to mitigate high tide flooding has worked so far in accordance with its “limited expectation.” Manny Parada, Public Works Director, discussed shoreline protection for coastal birds. The NJ Department of Environmental Protection will propose a new rule in 2024 protecting threatened and endangered species (including Plovers, Red Knots, Oyster Catchers, Sea Turtles, etc.). Stone Harbor is already participating in this area via our Beach Management Plan and may benefit from a new ruling.
Public Comment- There was extensive public feedback regarding proposed Ordinance 1657, which would impact lot sizes of 50 x 110’ or larger by requiring 10- foot minimum side setbacks. Former Mayor Suzanne Walter was the first to speak on the proposal by recommending the Borough hire a consultant to review the entirety of zoning requirements before adopting this new Ordinance. More than a dozen other residents objected to the Ordinance and requested the Borough consider unintended outcomes to this proposal. It was further noted that the Planning Board does not agree with the proposed Ordinance.
To view legislation discussed at the meeting, please click: http://stoneharbornj.org/wp-content/uploads/2023/10/Regular-Meeting-Agenda-10.17.2023.pdf
To view a video of the meeting, please click: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=q3_WSmwT1CM
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/