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Minutes of Commissioners Meeting   -   September 4, 2008

Note:  Complete Meeting Appears on Tape #24-08  on File in the Borough Clerk’s Office September 4, 2008
Wildwood Crest, NJ

Prior to the opening of the special meeting, Mrs. Gould led those present in the Pledge of Allegiance to the Flag.

 

The special meeting of the Board of Commissioners, Borough of Wildwood Crest, Cape May County , New Jersey , was held in the Commissioners’ Meeting Room at 4:00 p.m.  On roll call the following answered to their names:

          Gould - Cabrera – Yes                         Groon - Absent

 

Mrs. Gould 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 and facsimile transmitting same to The Herald, Gazette-Leader and The Press on Tuesday, September 2, 2008 at 4:00 p.m.

 

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

 

Mrs. Gould announced that the only business to be discussed at this meeting was authorization for fireworks to be held on the beach during Seafarers’ Weekend.

 

The Clerk stated that any fireworks display to be held in or by the Borough of Wildwood Crest must adhere to rules and regulations established by the Atlantic County Municipal Joint Insurance Fund (ACMJIF) and the Municipal Excess Liability Joint Insurance Fund (MEL), and those specifics must be set forth in an authorizing resolution. The rules and regulations have been circulated to the appropriate personnel, including the governing body. It was also pointed out that adherence must likewise be met with all state and local regulations for the conduct of a fireworks display.   The Clerk went on to state that the indication at this time was that the fireworks would not be held on Shaw Island as they have in the past for jurisdictional reasons, the Township of Lower being controlling in that regard, and the potential for movement of the exhibition from Shaw Island to a location on the beach has been proposed. The Clerk announced that prior to any authorization being provided by the governing body, the principal personnel of the Borough were present for this special meeting and their advice/recommendations must first be provided; they specifically being a representative of the Police Department, Recreation, and Fire Official,

 

Mr. Cabrera stated that it was his understanding that the proposed location was Fern Road at the beach. The Clerk responded that the exact location would be the key point for discussion.

He queried whether the Department of Public Works, including the Recreation Department, believed this was an event that could be properly handled in the short period of time given.

 

Mrs. Gould stated that there are dunes on the Fern Road beach. The Recreation Supervisor responded that there are 250 to 300 feet between the water line and the dunes, and the plan was to have the fireworks at the water line. Mrs. Gould indicated that many years ago, there were fireworks on the beach and the wind blew the embers inland and caused damage to many cars in the area. She added that she is not against the fireworks, but did want to explore every possibility. She also asked the time of high tide on the proposed date. The Recreation Supervisor responded that high tide will be at 6:00 p.m.

 

The Clerk interjected that part of the criteria is that the fireworks exhibitor execute an agreement with the Borough of Wildwood Crest, execute an indemnification and hold harmless agreement so that that individual and his company would be responsible for any damage. Specifically, the Borough of Wildwood Crest would be named as an additional insured for that eventuality.  The Clerk added that the police department was requested to attend this meeting for input as to whether they could “cordon off” an area to assure the safety of the public and that those issues must be left to the Police Department and the Fire Official, since the Fire Official would issue a permit for the event to be held that would include all fire code/safety conditions having been met. Concurrently, it was his opinion that the Chief of Police, or his representative, needed to provide their authorization to hold the event on the beach from a public safety standpoint.

 

Mr. Cabrera stated that every Friday night there are fireworks held on the beach in Wildwood, and he was of the opinion that Wildwood was taking the proper precautions and that he did not think Wildwood Crest was any different from the City of Wildwood in that regard. Mrs. Gould said that Wildwood’s beach is wider at the location where they have the fireworks. The Recreation Supervisor stated that on National Night Out the City of Wildwood shot fireworks on a different beach within 400 feet of the Convention Center. Mr. Cabrera advised that at low tide, from the dune to the water line is approximately 800 to 1000 feet at Fern Road . He was basing that estimation on the length of the fishing pier. Mr. Cabrera added that in his opinion, since there is a park in the vicinity, spectators could sit in the park to watch the fireworks, assuming that proper safety precautions are in place, including fire safety equipment.

 

Lt. Mayer of the Wildwood Crest Police Department asked what type of perimeter security would be provided by the exhibitor. The Recreation Supervisor responded that the Borough has an ideal location with a “perfect square” for the 300 foot perimeter, but he would determine what the exhibitor does in the City of Wildwood for direction on how to proceed.  Lt. Mayer said that the concern of the Police Department was that they would be able to provide security for the event, and that a 300 foot perimeter would be difficult. He asked if there would be barricades placed and what would the 300 perimeter consist of. The Clerk added that precautions would have to be taken to ensure that there ere are no people within that area. Lt. Mayer concurred.

 

Mrs. Gould inquired who would make a determination to cancel the fireworks in the event of inclement weather or other unforeseen circumstances. The Recreation Supervisor responded that cancellation for weather would fall under the Fire Official’s purview. Mrs. Gould inquired if the proposed exhibitor is the same one who provides fireworks in the City of Wildwood on Friday nights. The Recreation Supervisor responded in the affirmative.

 

With regard to Lt. Mayer’s questions, the Recreation Supervisor advised that the beach walkways could be staffed by Recreation Department personnel to make sure the public would not have access to the beach. He added that on the beach itself, Recreation personnel could also “man” the beach two blocks in each direction of the display area to prevent the public from entering that zone. He suggested the use of a few of the beach vehicles for that purpose. Mr. Cabrera suggested running temporary snow fencing from the street ends to the water’s edge. Lt. Mayer stated that Mr. Cabrera’s suggestion would permit Recreation personnel to be utilized in other areas where they may be needed. The Clerk asked Lt. Mayer for confirmation that if the snow fencing were properly coordinated with sufficient staffing for security, Mr. Cabrera’s suggestion could work. Lt. Mayer responded in the affirmative.

 

The Clerk asked for input from the Fire Official. The Fire Official stated that the State of New Jersey has regulations for footage for the perimeter. Additionally, the Audubon Society, the Coast Guard and other entities require notification. The Clerk inquired if sufficient time existed prior to September 20, 2008 to comply with all of the requirements. The Fire Official responded that as long as all paperwork is received by his office no later than September 5, 2008. The Clerk responded that it was his understanding that much of the paperwork had been initiated and completed. The Recreation Supervisor added that he has commenced the process and gotten as much paperwork completed as possible. He added that he had also called the exhibitor prior to the commencement of this meeting. The Assistant Recreation Supervisor asked the Fire Official what more notifications would be required. The Fire Official responded that the Coast Guard and Audubon Society and FAA must be notified. Mrs. Gould inquired if the Fire Official’s Office would take care of those notifications. The Fire Official responded that his office takes care of permits through the State of New Jersey . Mrs. Gould reiterated her query regarding the Coast Guard and FAA contact. The Fire Official responded that the exhibitor is responsible for that as part of the permit process.

 

The Recreation Supervisor added that clean up after the event will be done by his staff.

 

The Clerk interjected that everyone should be cognizant of the fact that this is a Borough sponsored event.

 

Mr. Cabrera recommended that the Borough contact the Special Improvement District to determine their procedures for the Friday fireworks in Wildwood.

 

The Fire Official stressed that all rules and regulations of the State must be followed.

 

Mr. Cabrera inquired if the exhibitor had seen the proposed location on the beach. The Recreation Supervisor responded that they had not. Mr. Cabrera stated that any approval he may provide would be contingent upon the exhibitor viewing the proposed location. The Clerk added that all officials and the fire company should also approve the location.

 

There being no further discussion of the matter, THE CLERK READ THE FOLLOWING RESOLUTION BY TITLE ONLY:

RESOLUTION NO. 830-08

(Authorization for a fireworks exhibition to be held during Seafarers’ Weekend and requiring compliance with the ACMJIF Rules and Regulations)

 

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

Vote:          Gould-Cabrera-Yes                                 Groon-Absent

 

There being no further matters authorized for discussion, Mrs. Gould motioned, seconded by Mr. Cabrera, that the meeting be adjourned.

Vote:          Gould-Cabrera-Yes                                 Groon-Absent

 

Dated:        September 24, 2008

Kevin M. Yecco, Clerk/Administrator

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