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.
Mayor Judy Davies-Dunhour opened the meeting by recognizing the Stone Harbor Police Department. Sergeant Cassandra Tirelli was recognized for her achievements and sworn in as a patrol sergeant. Detective Austin Rothman was recognized and sworn in as a detective. Officer Steve Myers was introduced as Stone Harbor’s newest patrol officer.
Progress on Flood Rating
Council member Jennifer Gensemer began the report of the Administration and Finance Committee with Ray Poudrier, the construction official, reporting that work is ongoing to reach better flood protection under the Community Rating System. Poudrier was cautiously optimistic Stone Harbor could reach a higher level upon a special review to be conducted by the Federal Emergency Management Agency. Additional documentation is required and this work is expected to be completed by August 29th.
Jim Craft, Stone Harbor CFO, discussed county property valuation equalization and how it affects property taxes in the municipality. Stone Harbor’s local property values increased by 22.24% between 2022 and 2023, while Cape May County, as a whole, increased by 21.42%. Stone Harbor’s share of the county’s total value only increased slightly, by 0.6%.
Construction Official Poudrier reported that construction permits are consistent with previous years, with restrictions on demolitions and pile driving during summer. A zoning hearing for a second-floor variance for a property on Stone Court will take place next Monday and will be available to view via Zoom.
Manny Parada said the Borough has the prescribed amount set aside of the State Fair Housing Act funds for the assistance program.
Nine people have applied for the vacant clerk position, and the administration is narrowing this down to three candidates for initial interviews.
Increased parking tickets have led the Avalon/Stone Harbor shared municipal court to hire a temporary worker to handle call volume related to parking violations now through the end of September.
Samantha Kuhns has become acting Deputy Court Administrator.
The Borough voluntarily participated in property safety inspections by PEOSH (Public Employees Occupational Safety and Health Administration) without the risk of fines or violations. Corrections will be made based on their recommendations. PEOSH has proved successful in voluntary inspections throughout the Cape May County area.
The Borough will be adding signs in the downtown area for more visibility regarding paid parking requirements together with instructions for using the Park Mobile app.
Marc DeBlasio, the Borough engineer, reported that all roadway improvements have been completed, flood valves installed (one is temporary until a final valve is received), and the seawalls have been raised at three street ends.
Parking Assistance Discussed
Council President Frank Dallahan discussed the consideration of a program in New Jersey where people over 60 can get a decal for their cars to allow parking with the owner present. He asked for this proposal to be moved forward as it will benefit people with the most difficulty with the Park Mobile app. There are a number of issues to be resolved, such as rates, and how long the pass would be active.
Parada reported people are again digging holes at the beach, which creates safety hazards. These holes need to be filled in. Stone Harbor is sweeping the beach on all seven days.
Regarding solid waste: The convenience center, which is open seven days a week now, is not a bulk drop-off place. Two bulk pickups are coming this year, one in September and one in October.
The 114th St. sewer lift station is being replaced, and all water and sewer lines will be replaced along 3rd Ave. between 80th to 99th Streets. Both are planned to begin in September.
Reeds Wants More Space
Representatives for the Reeds Hotel and Spa presented a proposal to extend their space along 3rd Avenue for valet parking and loading. The proposal has been reviewed by the Planning Board and the Police Department, and it also requires approval from the county. Further analysis will be done before making a decision at a future meeting or presenting it to the public safety committee for review.
Beach Feasibility Study
Council member Robin Caspar advised the Borough has received the beach feasibility study report. It is about 250 pages. There are several recommendations and conclusions that fall into three categories:
1. Refurbish the 127th Street groin;
2. Conduct a pilot beach scraping program; and
3. Consider sand harvesting.
Additional recommendations are to define the optimal extent of the dunes to establish a sustainable fencing and management program while maximizing dry beach space and storm protection. And finally, to continue close cooperation with the Army Corps and NJ Department of Environmental Protection to identify offshore sand borrowing areas.
Council member Reese Moore proposed a next phase for beach feasibility which would include a technical review by Doug Gaffney, the Borough’s coastal consultant, together with the Borough’s administrator and engineer. This would cover prioritizing the project ideas as well as generating costs and benefits for each program.
The Council approved a number of ordinances and resolutions, including:
Ordinance 1652 – to add a no-parking zone on the south side of Chelsea Place
Ordinance S175 – for Wildwood Catholic’s youth tennis program approval
Ordinance S177 – Approves appointment of Samantha Kuhns as interim acting deputy court administrator.
Ordinance S178 – Extend the grace period for property tax payment to August 25th. The bills were mailed on August 1st.
A motion was approved for the Northeast Longboard Surf Contest for October 14th and 15th.
A motion was approved to issue 24 beach tags for the Cape May Regional Medical Gala on August 18th.
Council presented a resolution censuring the Mayor for her comments at the July 3 meeting regarding the appointment of the Borough Administrator. The resolution passed by a vote of 5 to 1, with Council member Caspar voting no. The Mayor responded to this action by reviewing her conduct, and her request to hold the personnel discussion in closed session.
For legislation discussed, please follow this link: http://stoneharbornj.org/wp-content/uploads/2023/07/Regular-Agenda-8.1.23.pdf
For a recording, please follow this link: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=rbvtLGqSsaE