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Minutes of Commissioners Meeting   -   April 4, 2007

Note:  Complete Meeting Appears on Tape #07-07  on File in the Borough Clerk’s Office April 4, 2007
Wildwood Crest, NJ

Prior to the opening of the meeting, Mr. Groon led those present in the Pledge of Allegiance to the Flag.

 

The meeting of the Board of Commissioners, Borough of Wildwood Crest, Cape May County , New Jersey , was held in the Commissioners’ Meeting Court Room at 9:30 a.m.  On roll call the following answered to their names:

Gould - Cabrera – Groon – Yes

 

Mr. Groon read the following statement:  In compliance with the Open Public Meeting Act, Chapter 231, P.L. 1975, the notice requirements have been satisfied as to the time, place and date of holding said meeting by posting notice on the bulletin board in the Borough Hall and by mailing same to the Gazette-Leader and The Press on November 9, 2006.

 

Mr. Groon next announced the one-way in and the one-way out method of ingress and egress in case of emergency.

 

Due to the large public turn-out for this meeting, the governing body determined to move the location of the meeting from the Commissioners’ Meeting Room to the Municipal Court Room to accommodate the public.

 

At 9:40 a.m., the meeting was reconvened in the Municipal Court Room .

 

Mrs. Gould motioned, seconded by Mr. Cabrera, that Ordinance No. 1029 be placed on second reading and final passage by title only.

Vote:          Gould-Cabrera-Groon-Yes

THE CLERK READ THE FOLLOWING ORDINANCE BY TITLE ONLY:

ORDINANCE NO. 1029

AN ORDINANCE AUGMENTING AND AMENDING THE LAND DEVELOPMENT ORDINANCE OF THE BOROUGH OF WILDWOOD CREST – CHAPTER 85 – ARTICLE II – SECTION 85-11 – DEFINITIONS, AND ARTICLE XI – M1A, M1B, M1C – HOTEL/MOTEL AND MULTI-FAMILY ZONE – SECTION 85-87 – PERMITTED USES – OF THE CODE OF THE BOROUGH OF WILDWOOD CREST, AND AMENDING ORDINANCE NO. 983 ADOPTED OCTOBER 26, 2005 AND ORDINANCE NO. 1013 ADOPTED JULY 12, 2006

Mrs. Gould motioned, seconded by Mr. Cabrera, that a public hearing be held on Ordinance No. 1029.

Vote:          Gould-Cabrera-Groon-Yes

There being no public comment, Mrs. Gould motioned, seconded by Mr. Cabrera, that the public hearing on Ordinance No. 1029 be closed.

Vote:          Gould-Cabrera-Groon-Yes

Mrs. Gould motioned, seconded by Mr. Cabrera, that Ordinance No. 1029 be passed on second and final reading and advertised according to law.

Vote:           Gould-Cabrera-Groon-Yes

 

Mrs. Gould motioned, seconded by Mr. Cabrera, that Ordinance No. 1030 be placed on second reading and final passage by title only.

Vote:          Gould-Cabrera-Groon-Yes

THE CLERK READ THE FOLLOWING ORDINANCE BY TITLE ONLY:

ORDINANCE NO. 1030

AN ORDINANCE AUGMENTING AND AMENDING THE LAND DEVELOPMENT ORDINANCE OF THE BOROUGH OF WILDWOOD CREST – CHAPTER 85, ARTICLE IV – R1 LOW DENSITY RESIDENTIAL – SECTION 85-28 – AREA AND BULK REGULATIONS – ARTICLE V – R1A SEMI-LOW DENSITY RESIDENTIAL – SECTION 85-32 AREA AND BULK REGULATIONS, SUBSECTION L – ARTICLE VII – TWO-FAMILY RESIDENTIAL ZONE – SECTION 85-40 – AREA AND BULK REGULATIONS, SUBSECTION J – ARTICLE XIV – EXCEPTIONS AND SUPPLEMENTAL REQUIREMENTS TO BULK AND AREA REQUIREMENTS – SECTION 85-69 – LANDSCAPING IN ALL ZONES – SECTION 85-73(E AND F) – EXCEPTIONS AND SUPPLEMENTAL REQUIREMENTS TO BULK AND AREA REGULATIONS – AND SECTION 85-89 – PARKING, LOADING, STORAGE AND RECYCLING REQUIREMENTS – SUBSECTION D, AND AMENDING ORDINANCE NO. 977 ADOPTED JUNE 29, 2005 AND ORDINANCE NO. 988 ADOPTED DECEMBER 7, 2005

Mrs. Gould motioned, seconded by Mr. Cabrera, that a public hearing be held on Ordinance No. 1030.

Vote:          Gould-Cabrera-Groon-Yes

There being no public comments, Mrs. Gould motioned, seconded by Mr. Cabrera, that the public hearing on Ordinance No. 1030 be closed.

Vote:          Gould-Cabrera-Groon-Yes

Mrs. Gould motioned, seconded by Mr. Cabrera, that Ordinance No. 1030 be passed on second and final reading and advertised according to law.

Vote:          Gould-Cabrera-Groon-Yes

 

Mrs. Gould motioned, seconded by Mr. Cabrera, that Ordinance No. 1035 be placed on second reading and final passage by title only.

Vote:          Gould-Cabrera-Groon-Yes

THE CLERK READ THE FOLLOWING ORDINANCE BY TITLE ONLY:

ORDINANCE NO. 1035

AN ORDINANCE AMENDING AND SUPPLEMENTING CHAPTER 56 OF THE CODE OF THE BOROUGH OF WILDWOOD CREST, COUNTY OF CAPE MAY AND STATE OF NEW JERSEY, RECREATION COMMISSION, SECTION 56-3, APPROVING AND CONFIRMING RATES AND FEES FOR THE RENTAL OF FACILITIES, PARTICIPATION IN CERTAIN EVENTS AND ACTIVITIES, AND FOR THE DEVELOPMENT AND IMPLEMENTATION OF OTHER REQUIREMENTS APPERTAINING THERETO, AND AMENDING AND AUGMENTING ORDINANCE NO. 824, ADOPTED MARCH 12, 1997, ORDINANCE NO. 851, ADOPTED FEBRUARY 8, 1999, ORDINANCE NO. 889, ADOPTED NOVEMBER 28, 2001, ORDINANCE NO. 924, ADOPTED JANUARY 6, 2003, AND ORDINANCE NO. 992, ADOPTED JANUARY 18, 2006

Mrs. Gould motioned, seconded by Mr. Cabrera, that a public hearing be held on Ordinance No. 1035.

Vote:          Gould-Cabrera-Groon-Yes

Jim Johnstone, 300 East Miami Avenue , inquired as to the “residential” and “non-residential” admission to the swimming pool, and asked about the difference in family rates. Mr. Cabrera responded that the rates to which Mr. Johnstone was referring were not being changed by this pending ordinance. Mr. Johnstone inquired as to why a “non-resident” who owned property in Wildwood Crest was required to pay more than a year around resident. The Recreation Supervisor interjected that the fees for the pool to which Mr. Johnstone was referring was an effort to control “family” memberships since some people were bringing in multiple people under the “blanket” of family. He added that those fees have been in place for several years. Mr. Groon added that, although  it was his understanding that if a person is a property owner in Wildwood Crest, that person is entitled to the lower rate.

There being no public comments, Mrs. Gould motioned, seconded by Mr. Cabrera, that the public hearing on Ordinance No. 1035 be closed.

Vote:          Gould-Cabrera-Groon-Yes

Mrs. Gould motioned, seconded by Mr. Cabrera, that Ordinance No. 1035 be passed on second and final reading and advertised according to law.

Vote:          Gould-Cabrera-Groon-Yes

 

THE CLERK READ THE FOLLOWING ORDINANCE BY TITLE ONLY:

ORDINANCE NO. 1036

AN ORDINANCE SUPPLEMENTING BOROUGH OF WILDWOOD CREST ORDINANCE NO. 999 AUTHORIZING A SPECIAL EMERGENCY APPROPRIATION FOR THE PREPARATION AND EXECUTION OF A COMPLETE PROGRAM OF REVALUATION OF REAL PROPERTY FOR THE USE OF THE LOCAL ASSESSOR OF THE BOROUGH OF WILDWOOD CREST

 

Mrs. Gould motioned, seconded by Mr. Cabrera, that Ordinance No. 1036 be passed on first reading, advertised according to law, be brought up for second and final reading and public hearing on Wednesday, April 18, 2007 at 7:00 p.m.

Vote:          Gould-Cabrera-Groon-Yes

 

THE CLERK READ THE FOLLOWING ORDINANCE BY TITLE ONLY:

ORDINANCE NO. 1037

AN ORDINANCE OF THE BOROUGH OF WILDWOOD CREST REPEALING AND REPLACING ORDINANCE NO. 979 ADOPTED AUGUST 24, 2005 – ESTABLISHING CHAPTER 62 – SEX OFFENDERS RESIDENCE PROHIBITION

Mrs. Gould motioned, seconded by Mr. Cabrera, that Ordinance No. 1037 be passed on first reading, advertised according to law, be brought up for second and final reading and public hearing on Wednesday, April 18, 2007 at 7:00 p.m.

Vote:          Gould-Cabrera-Groon-Yes

 

THE CLERK READ THE FOLLOWING RESOLUTION BY TITLE ONLY:

RESOLUTION NO. 477-07

(Authorizing issuance of ice cream peddlers’ licenses for 2007)

 

Mrs. Gould motioned, seconded by Mr. Cabrera, that the foregoing Resolution be adopted.

Vote:          Gould-Cabrera-Groon-Yes

 

THE CLERK READ THE FOLLOWING RESOLUTION BY TITLE ONLY:

RESOLUTION NO. 478-07

(Authorizing refund of tax/utility overpayment to Wells Fargo in the amount of $654.41 for Block/Lot 95.03-1)

 

Mrs. Gould motioned, seconded by Mr. Cabrera, that the foregoing Resolution be adopted.

Vote:          Gould-Cabrera-Groon-Yes

 

THE CLERK READ THE FOLLOWING RESOLUTION BY TITLE ONLY:

RESOLUTION NO. 479-07

(Authorizing purchase off State Contract for outfitting of police vehicles purchased off State Contract previously)

 

Mrs. Gould motioned, seconded by Mr. Groon, that the foregoing Resolution be adopted.

Vote:          Gould-Cabrera-Groon-Yes

 

THE CLERK READ THE FOLLOWING RESOLUTION BY TITLE ONLY:

RESOLUTION NO. 480-07

(Authorizing participation by the Borough in a mutual aid agreement with other Cape May County participating units for police, fire & EMS services)

 

Mr. Groon motioned, seconded by Mrs. Gould, that the foregoing Resolution be adopted.

Vote:          Gould-Cabrera-Groon-Yes

 

THE CLERK READ THE FOLLOWING RESOLUTION BY TITLE ONLY:

RESOLUTION NO. 481-07

(Authorizing Notice to Bidders for Replacement of Beach Outfall Lines on Washington , Miami and Atlanta Avenues)

 

Mr. Groon motioned, seconded by Mr. Cabrera, that the foregoing Resolution be adopted.

Vote:          Gould-Cabrera-Groon-Yes

 

THE CLERK READ THE FOLLOWING RESOLUTION BY TITLE ONLY:

RESOLUTION NO. 482-07

(Authorizing retention of Stuart Wiser of Remington & Vernick Engineers as Planning Consultant for parking, step-back and related issues at the not to exceed contract amount of $15,000.00)

 

Mr. Groon motioned, seconded by Mr. Cabrera, that the foregoing Resolution be adopted.

Vote:          Gould-Cabrera-Groon-Yes

 

THE CLERK READ THE FOLLOWING RESOLUTION BY TITLE ONLY:

RESOLUTION NO. 483-07

(Authorizing issuance of a special events permit to the Brendan Borek High Tides Memorial Fund for the purpose of holding a fundraising walk-a-thon on May 6, 2007 at Ocean Avenue and the Crest Pier)

 

Mrs. Gould motioned, seconded by Mr. Groon, that the foregoing Resolution be adopted.

Vote:          Gould-Cabrera-Groon-Yes

 

THE CLERK READ THE FOLLOWING RESOLUTION BY TITLE ONLY:

RESOLUTION NO. 484-07

(Designating May 3-6, 2007 Make-A-Wish weekend in the Borough of Wildwood Crest)

 

Mrs. Gould motioned, seconded by Mr. Groon, that the foregoing Resolution be adopted.

Vote:          Gould-Cabrera-Groon-Yes

 

Mrs. Gould motioned, seconded by Mr. Cabrera, that all bills properly authorized, as submitted and which appear in full on the following page, be paid.

Vote:          Gould-Cabrera-Groon-Yes

 

The first matter for discussion was the proposed “marriage and civil union fee” ordinance. The Clerk indicated that the ordinance is still in development, and that he had not received any comments from the governing body as to how they wished to proceed. Therefore, the matter would be put on hold until further notice.

 

The Clerk also indicated that he had received no comments or direction from the governing body with regard to the telephone service agreement with Line Systems, Inc., and, therefore, that matter would be continued until a future meeting.

The meeting was opened to the public for comment on any Borough matters not relating to the Heather Road fishing pier.

 

Ed Chadrow, 111 East Nashville Avenue , indicated that he had not heard from Mr. Cabrera regarding the completion of water utility reconstruction on his street. Mr. Cabrera responded that “they are working feverishly to get everything buttoned up” and added that the water utility contractor has work to be completed. The Engineer indicated that he had spoken to the water utility contractor prior to the commencement of this meeting, and was advised that a paving contractor will be able to overlay the street in the near future. He added that the Borough does have intentions to reconstruct the street in the future. Mr. Cabrera added that a letter would be sent to the water utility to “apply some pressure.”

 

Nancy Pietropaoli, Seaview Avenue , inquired about the sign ordinance. She stated that she is noting more and more big, big signs going up, and particularly the condo complex at Heather and Ocean Avenue . Mr. Groon responded that in January and February, a new sign ordinance was adopted which reduces the size of the signs and notices were sent out to the realtors and all interested parties. Enforcement of the new sign ordinance was commenced in mid-March and it will take some time to get through the community.

 

Louise Johnstone, 300 East Miami Avenue , commented regarding trees being removed at Sunset Lake during the shoreline stabilization project, and asked if they would be replaced.  Mr. Cabrera responded that the trees that have been removed were trees that have been identified as interfering with the installation of the matting material. He added that a change order will be required in the future to determine whether new trees will be planted and he was waiting for the Engineer’s report as to the cost of those trees.

 

Mrs. Johnstone then inquired about the funds that were budgeted in a past year for landscaping at the Crest Pier, and commented that there is very little landscaping. She asked if there were any plans to plant trees at the Crest Pier facility. Mr. Cabrera responded that there has been some discussion with the Borough’s Landscape Supervisor. Mrs. Johnstone added that as a member of the Beautification Committee there have been concerns raised at their meetings.

 

Joe Salerno, 6600 Atlantic Avenue , asked for an update on the parking meter situation along Atlantic Avenue , asking if the meters will extend all the way to Cresse. The Chief of Police indicated that all of Atlantic Avenue is included in the ordinance, but the meters have never been installed. He added that some meters have been installed between Rambler and Farragut which resulted in gaining approximately 25 spots. He indicated that it was his understanding that there is no intention to go further north on Atlantic Avenue . Mr. Groon indicated that the only thing that was discussed in the last two years was adding meters in the vicinity of Assumption Church .

 

Meg Timer, 210 East Washington Avenue, inquired about enforcement of the new sign ordinance, adding that it was her understanding that it was to have gone into effect on March 23rd. Mr. Groon responded that enforcement of the ordinance commenced approximately March 23rd. Ms. Timer indicated that, notwithstanding numerous notices being sent out by the Borough, she is still seeing contractor signs around town that do not comply with the ordinance. Mr. Groon responded that the Borough does not have a full-time zoning officer or code enforcement officer, and consequently it will take some time to cover the entire town. He encouraged Ms. Timer to call the zoning officer with any specific concerns.

 

Ms. Timer indicated that she has concerns about the “high rises” proposed in Lower Township and indicated her “great opposition” against it happening in Wildwood Crest, as well as the Borough’s “seeming support” in Wildwood. Mr. Groon inquired as to what she meant by “seeming support.” Ms. Timer responded that The Leader reported that Wildwood Crest is supporting the 25-story limit in Wildwood. Mr. Groon responded that he had not seen the article in The Leader to which she was referring, but to his knowledge the Planning Board nor the Board of Commissioners ever made a public statement in support of 25-stories. He added that the 25-stories was pursued by Wildwood officials as an overall solution to island problems, including parking, and the Borough of Wildwood Crest has had no say in that matter.

 

John Quintano, 9300 Atlantic Avenue , inquired, as a follow up to The Leader article, if any Borough officials accompanied the Wildwood officials to the meeting at the state. Mr. Groon

 

responded in the affirmative. Mr. Quintano stated that that was what was referred to in the article. Mr. Groon indicated that the meeting was part of an over-all approach to dealing with DEP, indicating that each community had it own specific agenda at that meeting. Mr. Quintano inquired if there was any representation at that meeting that the Borough supports the 25-stories in Wildwood.  Mrs. Gould responded, “there has never been any action taken by this governing body.”

 

There being no further general public comments, the meeting was opened to public comments regarding the Heather Road fishing pier only. Mr. Groon first asked the Commissioners to make any statements they wished to make regarding the matter.

 

Mr. Cabrera stated that he has had an opportunity to spend some time at the pier in the last two weeks, and he invited everyone present to do the same. He stated that in 2005 during the municipal election process, demolition was a concern, destruction of historic buildings was a concern, and loss of Wildwood Crest personality was a concern. He went on to state that the fishing pier is historical since the first Mayor of Wildwood Crest was the person who permitted the fishing pier to be constructed. It was his opinion that many people cannot relate to the pier because they have not had an opportunity to walk out on the pier, and if they took advantage of that opportunity they would decide that it is a great amenity and must be saved. He warned that if the pier is demolished, the State of New Jersey , DEP, will not permit it to be rebuilt. Mr. Cabrera introduced the Borough’s Grants Coordinator for this project to speak about the funds received from the State of New Jersey to “move the project forward.” He went on to state that there will always be some investment on the part of the Borough.

 

Mr. Cabrera stated that his “vision” for the pier is to open it up and fix it up, in-house with the Public Works crew. He was “very confident” that the project can be done in-house and save the Borough “a lot of money.” The Engineer has revised the estimate to indicate a net cost of $227,000, not including the clubhouse.

 

Mr. Cabrera indicated that the first phase of the project will include recreational uses, including anything from viewing of fireworks, weddings, entertainment. He admitted that he does not have all of the answers, but he envisioned the pier being connected to the bike path which, in essence, is the Borough’s “boardwalk.” The potential traffic on the pier would be tremendous.

 

He went on to add that “down the road” if grant funds are obtained, perhaps the pier could be extended and opened as a fishing pier. He asked those present to think about the potential of the pier in the future.

 

Mark Blauer, the Grants Coordinator, gave an overview of his accomplishments on behalf of the Borough, including the grants over the past four years for the beach walkways. He stated that each of those grants had a 30% local match, and that was done by providing “in-kind” labor for the projects by borough personnel.

 

He reported that an application was made to make the pier handicapped accessible, and the grant received in the amount of $400,000 was specifically to be utilized to make it accessible to handicapped persons.

 

Mr. Blauer stated that if the contract is not returned to the State within a limited period of time, the money will be taken and given to another municipality. After the contract is signed, the Borough will have the rest of 2007 to design the project and 2008 to build it. The project expires on January 31, 2009. If there is a compelling reason, additional time may be granted to complete the project beyond January 31, 2009.

 

Mr. Blauer indicated that the significance of this information is that the DCA expects the municipality to follow up and complete the work when an application is submitted for a project. If a municipality returns grant funds to the DCA, the chances of obtaining future grant funds is decreased.

 

Mr. Blauer stressed that there are other projects the Borough is considering making application for grant funding, and the funding of those projects would become questionable if this grant is turned down.

Mr. Cabrera reiterated Mr. Blauer’s statement that future funding could be impacted if the $400,000 grant is not utilized by the Borough.

 

Mr. Blauer added that during the design phase of the project, the Borough would be able to apply for additional funding through other sources.

 

Mrs. Gould questioned the description of the project as contained in the bond ordinance, and referred to the revised estimates she has received. She asked the Engineer if it was his opinion that the existing pilings were still good. The Engineer responded that the section closest to the water that was built in the 1990s are in excellent condition. He added that the piling replacement would be limited to the older section of the pier, and some of those pilings are in very poor condition.

 

Mrs. Gould stated that she is a “naysayer” and went on to explain that she felt that the pier is a “beautiful structure.” She added that she does not want the pier to be demolished, but she also did not want to put money into it when there are other more pressing projects.

 

She showed photographs of the pier as it presently exists, and added that the old part of the pier is “really in bad shape.” She went on to state that she has heard the comments about public works being able to do the work, and she stated that she did not agree that they will be able to get it all done. With reference to making the pier ADA compliant and enabling disabled people to get to the beach, she indicated that the beach patrol will pick them up at a street of their choice and take them where they want to go.

 

Mrs. Gould went on to state that the pier project is all lumped together with other necessary projects within the bond ordinance. She asked Mr. Groon and Mr. Cabrera to rethink the matter and remove the pier project from the bond ordinance because she did not want to hinder the other projects included in the bond ordinance. She stressed that with taxes going up, she did not know how much more the people can endure.

 

Mr. Groon then opened the floor to the public for their comments, and asked that they state their name, address and try to be brief as possible because he wanted everyone to have an opportunity to be heard.

 

Meg Timer, 210 East Washington, stated that she was very concerned that the statements she had heard were similar to purchasing a car where the salesman says, “the sale ends today and you have to make a decision.” She was upset that the process has been going on for several months and the public was just now hearing of it. She added that it should have been part of a greater plan. She expressed her opinion that the pier should be a separate project and would support removing it from the bond ordinance in order to permit the Commissioners to do a better job of planning.

 

Mr. Groon stated, in response to Ms. Timer’s comments, that the Commissioners adopted a resolution during the summer of 2006 at a public meeting to apply for the $400,000 grant. He added that “everyone” was surprised when the Borough was awarded such a large sum of money.

 

Jim Johnson, 214 East Trenton Avenue , stated that he was born and raised in Wildwood Crest. He stated that the pier has been in Wildwood Crest for many years, and it cannot be replaced and that would be a mistake to demolish it. He added, “we have lost enough flavor of this island.”

 

Dennis Hall, 9000 Seaview Avenue , stated that he is a member of the Wildwood Crest Tourism Development Commission, and that body voted in favor of preserving the pier; that it would cost close to $300,000 to demolish it. He went on to say that the best option would be for  the Borough to take that same amount of money, use the grant money that is available, and save the pier. He added, “once the pier is gone, it is gone.”

 

Mr. Groon interjected that the estimates for demolishing the pier are in the $150,000 to $250,000 range.

 

Charles Schumann, 117 West Toledo Avenue , stated that, to his knowledge, the process commenced approximately six years ago. At that point the pier was under the control of the fishing club, and the membership to the club was rapidly decreasing and they were having problems maintaining the pier. They asked the Borough to take over control of the pier at that time. He indicated even though some facts had been provided, he was still confused and had some questions to ask. He inquired if there is an insurance issue with the pier. The Clerk responded in the affirmative. Mr. Schumann inquired as to what that issue was. The Clerk responded that the issue was that the pier is not safe, is a “quiet hazard or nuisance,” and something has to be done one way or the other. The Clerk advised that a report was issued from Commerce Risk Control Services, the safety consultant for the Joint Insurance Fund, that the pier in its present condition can no longer continue to exist. Mr. Schumann inquired what the impact would be on the Borough’s insurance if the pier is not repaired. The Clerk responded that should someone be injured as a result, the Borough would have liability exposure, with full knowledge of the problems that exist. Mr. Schumann inquired if the Borough would be required to repair the pier. The Clerk responded that the Borough could also tear it down. Mr. Schumann inquired if the pier would be permitted to exist in its present condition through the summer without repair. The Clerk responded that the longer the Borough delays, the greater the risk; especially during the busy summer season Mr. Schumann stated in that event it would be prudent to repair it regardless of what further action is taken.

 

Mr. Groon interjected that last summer he walked through the pier with the Fishing Club members and he was concerned at that time. He then asked for the risk analysis. After the report was received, the Borough moved to take control of the pier for the safety of the public. The Clerk added that the pier was originally authorized for a private 99-year lease that commenced in the early 1920’s. The structure was returned to the Borough in 2005. Prior to that time, there was no ability for the private group to secure state or federal funding because it was not municipally controlled. After it came back into the Borough’s possession, various groups have gotten involved to recommend a course of action and we are now in a position to pursue public funding.

 

Mr. Schumann inquired where the money would come from to tear down the pier. Mr. Groon responded that it would have to be bonded.

 

Mr. Schumann then inquired if the annual maintenance cost to the pier, if it were in good shape, would be approximately $5,000.00. The Clerk responded that he thought it would be more than that. Mr. Groon concurred, but could not give an estimate of the amount at this point.

 

Mr. Schumann then inquired as to the cost to the Borough of having a special election on the matter. The Clerk responded that if it could not be held at the General Election, it would be in the vicinity of $15,000 to $20,000.

 

Mr. Schumann then stated that if the pier should be torn down, there would be nothing left. He added that the town has been “ravaged by demolition” and has lost a lot of history. He added that the pier is “an extremely valuable piece of property.” As a member of the Wildwood Crest Environmental Commission, Mr. Schumann suggested that the pier could be used for a food concession at the end, as an observation deck, as well as for migratory bird watching. Mr. Schumann concluded by stating his opinion that the pier should be preserved as a valuable asset to the Borough.

 

John Calabro, 209-211 Farragut Road , indicated that he was against preserving the pier, adding his opinion that the beach would be prettier without it. He stated that there could be long-term ramifications to the Borough and it could be costlier than anticipated. He added, “financially, this is a dog.”

 

John Quintano, 9300 Atlantic Avenue , stated that he agreed with Mr. Calabro, adding that it cannot be used as a fishing pier.

 

Harold Elam, 217 East Denver Avenue , offered his opinion that he was against preserving the pier because taxes are going up and sacrifices must be made.

 

George Martin, 212 East Denver , stated his objection to preserving the pier due to financial issues. He stated that in 2000 the Borough had debt of $10 million and as of March 2007 the Borough has debt of $18 million, a net increase of $7 million in seven years. He urged the Commissioners to amend the Bond Ordinance to remove the pier project.

Nancy Pietropaoli, 6002 Seaview Avenue , stated that the pier should be “left and do nothing” because it is not an eyesore. She asked Mr. Cabrera if it is realistic to expect public works to do all of the projects they are doing. Mr. Cabrera responded that once the funding is in place, the plan would be to hire additional laborers on a temporary basis. She added that she was concerned about the taxes, and did not want to have to pay money to utilize the pier in the future.

 

Mike Quinn, 209 East Pittsburgh Avenue , indicated that he was in favor of saving the fishing pier – but as a fishing pier;  he was not sure it could be extended, unless it could be made handicapped accessible since there is no other handicap accessible fishing pier on the east coast. He added that that would change the economic dynamic of the pier.

 

Pat Holmes, 125 East Crocus Road , stated that she is not in favor of vending on the pier. She inquired how handicapped people would access the beach from the pier. Mr. Groon reminded Ms. Holmes that the Borough’s beach patrol does provide transportation to the water for handicapped people. He added that at the end of each street there are wooden walkways onto the beach.

 

Will Morey, 8500 Bayview Drive , stated that he is in favor of preservation of the pier, since it is a “community treasure” and a tourism asset.

 

Joe Salerno, 6601 Atlantic Avenue , indicated that he would not want to be part of a governing body that is responsible for tearing down the pier. He stated that he agreed with Mr. Schumann and Mr. Morey that the pier should be preserved.  He added that these types of decisions should be left to the governing body – that is why they are elected, to govern.

 

Ed Masterson, 7301 Pacific Avenue , stated that the beach walkways are nice, but they only get people “so far.” He stated that disabled people “want to do it for themselves” and making the pier ADA compliant will benefit handicapped people. It was also his opinion that “the water is coming back” and perhaps in the not-so-distant future the pier will extend into the water.

 

John Levins, 124 West St. Louis Avenue , inquired if it would be possible to “take the money,” wait two years to evaluate the process, and if it is too expensive, stop the project. Mr. Blauer responded that it would have to be put out to bid to “get real prices” and if the Borough does  accept the grant within the next 45 days, the Borough will have the remainder of 2007 to “work out the details.” He went on to state, that if after going through the design and bid processes the Borough finds it has an “insurmountable problem” which is cost prohibitive, at that point the Borough could “gracefully” return the money. He added that “not trying” is what will hurt the Borough in the future for potential grant funding.

 

George Martin stated that he is not against what is being proposed, notwithstanding his earlier comments against the cost of the project, and asked if the Commissioners would consider amending the bond ordinance to remove the pier project. He added that he did not want to file a petition unless he has to, and did not want to hold up purchase of the necessary equipment included in the bond ordinance. He went on to state that Mr. Cabrera had earlier in the meeting indicated that the anticipated cost of the project had been reduced because of being able to do most of the work “in house,” and he asked Mr. Cabrera if he would be willing to amend the bond ordinance to the lower amount. Mr. Cabrera responded that that would not be possible because the numbers are only estimates and they could be higher or lower, and he was not willing to “box” himself in to a lower number.

 

In summary, Mr. Cabrera commented on some of the points made by members of the public. With regard to the comment regarding there having been “no planning” in this project, he indicated that the Borough’s Master Plan does specifically designate recreational zones, and in particular along Ocean Avenue . He noted that the pier abuts the existing bicycle path, the recreation center is one block from the pier, and the recreation fields are two blocks from the pier. His point was that the pier is located in the “recreational hub” of the Borough.

 

Mr. Cabrera added that there were many people who were unable to attend this public forum who had sent e-mails to the Clerk/Administrator indicating they were in favor of the project. Those e-mails were “25 to 1” in favor of the project.

 

He indicated that if there are any delays in the signing of the contract with DCA, the funding for the project is “killed” and there is a risk for potential future funding being denied.

 

Mr. Cabrera advised that the Board of Commissioners had professionals to rely upon, i.e., the engineer and the grant writer, when making these types of decisions and they have concluded that it will not hurt the Borough to move forward, keep the bond ordinance in place, go through the process of putting the design plans and estimates into motion, and then make a determination as to how to proceed. He added that if the costs turn out to be prohibitive, as Mr. Blauer earlier stated, the Borough can “gracefully” return the funding. He concluded that the Commissioners do not have a lot of information at this time, and, unfortunately, time is of the essence with regard to the DCA grant. He invited the members of the public to call him if they wished to visit the pier for a closer inspection.

 

Mr. Groon stated that the Borough can “go after the money, work on the mission, refine it” and  come back with a firm picture of how to deal with the property. He added that it was his opinion that the Borough should keep the pier, invest the “off-setting monies” which, in his opinion are not significant because of the cost to demolish the pier. He added that he did not have numbers on the cost to maintain the pier, but he reiterated his belief that it is something worth investing in. He agreed that the Borough should not stop at this point, should apply for more grant funding in the future to possibly extend it, because “truly the long term benefit is an extended pier.” He concurred with comments made earlier by Mr. Salerno on a possible referendum on the bond ordinance that the Commissioners were elected to do a job and they do the best they can. He asked Mr. Martin to reconsider his position with regard to a petition for a referendum, but thanked Mr. Martin for bringing the issue to the forefront.

 

Harold Elam, 217 East Denver Avenue , stated that, after digesting everything that had been said, he agreed with Mr. Groon that the Commissioners had been elected to do a job, and at some point the public will have to defer to them. He added that the problem has been that the process and information not having been communicated to the public. Mr. Groon concurred.

 

Jim Johnstone, 300 East Miami Avenue , stressed that the members of the community must attend more of the commission meetings to learn about what is going on in the town. He added that that would lead to better understandings between the Commissioners and the public.

 

The public comment portion of the meeting regarding the fishing pier was concluded.

 

THE CLERK READ THE FOLLOWING RESOLUTION BY TITLE ONLY:

RESOLUTION NO. 485-07

(Authorizing submission of an application through the County of Cape May under the “2007 Joint Venture Program)

 

Mr. Groon motioned, seconded by Mr. Cabrera, that the foregoing Resolution be adopted.

Vote:          Cabrera-Groon-Yes                                 Gould-Absent

 

There being no further business or comments, Mr. Cabrera motioned, seconded by Mr. Groon, that the meeting be adjourned.

Vote:          Cabrera-Groon-Yes                                 Gould-Absent

 

Dated:        April 18, 2007

Kevin M. Yecco, Borough Clerk

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