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.
Natural Resources Committee Chair Robin Casper reported on some of the strategies that the Borough will take in 2024 to preserve Stone Harbor’s beaches, following the Army Corps of Engineer’s 2023 replenishment project. The project added over 700,000 cubic yards of sand to Stone Harbor’s beaches at a total cost of $28.8 million to fill Seven-Mile Island beaches.
Warning that protecting the beaches should remain an ongoing effort, she estimated that the results would last one to two years. Casper noted the Natural Resource Committee had set aside $50,000 in the 2024 budget for a beach consultant who would provide the Borough advice on maintaining the beaches. She stated that the Public Works Department will conduct beach scraping in the spring, which would move sand from intertidal areas to the dune or upper beach.
She spoke in favor of conducting a peer review of the ocean front feasibility study and stated the Committee would consider approving a review in future meetings.
Merge Planning and Zoning?
The Council discussed but did not vote on a proposal to combine the Planning and Zoning boards. Council Member Reese Moore explained that the proposal had been intended to increase communication and coordination between the boards as well as cut costs and eliminate vacancies. He suggested that an “interim solution” might be to appoint liaisons between the two boards as a means of increasing communication and reducing the need for ordinance revisions and requests for variances.
Members of the public came forward to speak in opposition to the proposal to combine the Planning and Zoning boards, noting their differing responsibilities. There were no public statements in favor of consolidating the boards.
Zoning Board Member John McAllister recommended hiring a professional city planner, who would guide the Board as it considered rule changes to commercial and residential zoning and represent the Borough’s interest in proceeding.
SHPOA Trustee Geoff Woolery urged the Council to focus on the work process in their future actions. He recommended defining the process, establishing roles and responsibilities, as well as creating feedback mechanisms that would contribute to institutional knowledge.
Woolery explained that the process should include planning meetings, interim reports, and a post audit report, which would enable continuous improvement in project delivery. He advised the Council to redirect the focus to “what you intend to do,” from “how you are going to do it.”
The Council voted to approve the following Resolutions:
•Resolution 2023-S-219 – Awarding a contract to DeBlasio & Associates for surveying, designing, bidding and construction administration for the improvements to 10206 Third Avenue, a Borough owned residential structure.
•Resolution 2023-S-220 – Acknowledging and approving a grant application to the New Jersey Department of Community Affairs for the American Rescue Plan Firefighters Grant Program Funds in the amount of $37,258.50 to replace 10 firefighters’ gear.
•Resolution 2023-S-221 – Appointing 3 Special Law Enforcement Officer Class II (SLEO) Officers.
•Resolution 2023-S-222 – Authorizing the award of a professional services contract for conflict labor counsel.
•Resolution 2023-S223 – Authorizing a final change order for reconstruction of 122nd Street, resulting in a $35,521.91 reduction in final project cost to $692,229.16.
•Resolution 2023-S-224 – Approving the hiring of a part time firefighter to serve from November 21, 2023, to January 31, 2024.
To read legislation discussed in the meeting, please click: https://stoneharbornj.org/wp-content/uploads/2023/11/11.21.2023-Regular-Meeting-1.pdf