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Minutes of Special Commissioners Meeting   -   July 15, 2010

Note: Complete Special Meeting Appears on CD #22-10 and 23-10 on File in the Wildwood Crest, NJ Borough Clerk’s Office July 15, 2010
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 Municipal 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 fax transmitting and mailing same to the Gazette-Leader, the Herald and The Press on Wednesday, July 7, 2010.

 

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

 

Mr. Groon announced for those present that only one item was to be discussed, and all comments were to be limited to that one item, the item being the final decision for improvements to the Rambler Road Park . He added that due to time constraints regarding grant funding, the Borough was to make a final determination at this time.

 

The Clerk stated that a recent plan had been developed and revised by the Engineer, dated July 14, 2010, with corresponding cost estimates dated July 14, 2010. Those plans and cost estimates were provided to the governing body for their review and consideration earlier in the week.

Mr. Cabrera summarized the progress of the project by stating that discussions were commenced over two years ago with the idea to utilize the three vacant lots in the vicinity and add some parking and improve the bike path, as well as ADA compliant bathrooms. He stated that grant funds were obtained in the amount of $304,000 from the NJDCA, as well as $250,000 from the New Jersey Department of Transportation. Another $10,000 was received from a national funding source, National Parks and Recreation. He added that funding had been put in place for the entire project; however, in the interim several capital projects arose that required funding to be diverted from the Rambler Road Park Project. The decision was made to scale back the project and focus on utilizing the grant funds in order to avoid jeopardizing any future grant money being provided from these funding sources.

 

Mr. Cabrera went on to state that the scaled back version of the plan does not provide for parking, but does provides for a new bike rental and bathrooms building, retains the existing gazebo, and retains the current tourist center with some minor cosmetic revisions. He invited the public to avail themselves of the copies of the plan and rendering.

 

Mr. Cabrera stated that the cost estimate was scaled back from $1.6 million and is now projected at $990,475. He added that the discussion at this meeting would concern some revisions to parking spaces and the playground area.

 

The Clerk interjected that the project funding remains approximately $1.6 million and that the Borough is adding no new funding to the project. The intent would be to allow a minimum of $650,000 to remain available in funding so that the structural improvements to the roof and surrounding areas of the Crest Pier can also be accomplished through the existing funding source.

 

Mr. Groon opened the floor to the public for their comments.

 

Ed Bracknus, 301 East Myrtle Road , stated that it was his understanding that the Borough was going to replace the existing bike rental building, and inquired as to what would happen with the existing building. Mr. Groon responded that it would be removed. Mr. Bracknus then asked if the building is owned by a private party. Mr. Groon responded that it is owned by the Borough and is leased out on bid. Mr. Bracknus then inquired about the bathrooms, stating that there exist bathrooms at the lifeguard station, and asked about adding the new bathrooms. Mr. Groon responded that the bathrooms in the lifeguard station do not meet ADA requirements.

 

Mr. Bracknus inquired if parking is part of the plan, stating that it should be considered. Mr. Groon responded that future parking was one of the reasons that initially drove the project, and is one of the things that was cut from the project and has been postponed. Mr. Bracknus stated that parking is needed. Mr. Groon responded that the original plan had called for approximately ninety spaces plus fifteen handicapped spaces, and they were cut due to economics.

 

Alan Seijas, 6810 Seaview Avenue , asked as to the number of bathrooms being considered, and inquired if it was contemplated that they would be utilized for clothes changing by the public. He additionally inquired if the Borough would be providing a “matron” staff to oversee cleaning. Mrs. Gould responded that a “matron” would be the only thing that would prevent the public from utilizing the bathroom for clothes changing. She added that it would be something the Borough may have to consider. The Engineer stated that there are two bathrooms (mens’ and womens’) in the plan.

 

Mr. Seijas then inquired as to the contemplated “bike turnaround” in the plan. Mr. Cabrera showed Mr. Seijas the turnaround on the proposed plan.

 

Joe Russo, Rambler Road , stated that the plan was “very nice” but voiced his concern about the cutting of the square footage for the bike rental for storage of their bicycle inventory. It was his opinion that the bathrooms will be a hindrance and will cost the Borough money to run. He inquired if it was feasible to upgrade the existing bathrooms and provide the entire space for the bike rental. Mr. Groon responded that new and efficient bathrooms are needed, and there is not enough room in the beach patrol building to provide for the required upgrades. He added that the Commissioners have always insisted on no less than equal square footage for the bike rental in the proposed plans, and it was his opinion that there is at least a ten percent addition to the existing space, which reflects the concerns raised by Mr. Russo. Mr. Cabrera added that when the Engineer and architect designed the plan, it was made clear that the task was to make sure the bike rental had at least the square footage as presently constituted. The Engineer added that there is more square footage, and substantially more volume. Mr. Russo asked if there were bathrooms in the Nesbitt Center . Mr. Groon responded that there is a private bathroom for the staff. He added that the Commissioners would not be revisiting the location of the bathrooms.

 

Mr. Russo inquired as to the reason for eliminating the parking. Mr. Groon responded that the parking was eliminated for economic reasons and hopefully in the future the Borough can re-apply for additional funding for that purpose.

 

Alan Seijas inquired as to the proposed commencement date of the project. Mr. Groon responded that the Borough must be under contract by mid-September, with an anticipated completion date by summer of 2011. Mr. Cabrera added that it is contingent upon CAFRA permitting.

 

Mr. Russo asked if, since the current bike rental tenant has a lease, it would be their obligation to remove their inventory for purposes of the project. Mr. Groon responded that it was his opinion that the Borough would have an obligation to work with the tenant to solve the storage problem.

 

There being no further public comments, Mr. Groon closed the public comment portion of the meeting and moved the meeting to discussion with staff and the Engineer.

 

The Chief of Police stated that his concerns centered on congestion in the area of the bike path, bike turn around and bike rental. He advised that it was his opinion that the turn around and the bike rental be separated to avoid a safety hazard due to congestion. Additionally, he suggested that the parking configuration be move to the other side of the turn around. The Clerk asked the Engineer how far easterly the bike rental/bathroom building could be moved. The Engineer responded that there are issues with the V-Zone, but he estimated it could be moved approximately twenty-five feet west of the Nesbitt Center . Mr. Cabrera asked if the proposed parking area would have to be eliminated if the bike rental was moved. The Engineer responded that it could probably be moved due east.

 

Mr. Groon questioned if the existing playground remains on the most recent plan revision. The Engineer responded in the affirmative. He added that it will have to be moved somewhat in any event. He indicated that the cost of any playground work was not included in the cost estimate, with the exception of the removal of a small portion to accommodate the new bike rental/bathrooms building.

 

There was additional discussion regarding upgrading of the playground equipment. Mr. Groon inquired if $50,000 would be a safe estimate for equipment. The Engineer responded in the affirmative. Mr. Groon inquired if the remainder of the work could be done in-house. The Engineer responded in the affirmative. Mr. Cabrera indicated that he was in favor of moving the playground away from the bike rental and turn around.

 

With regard to the parking situation, Mr. Groon asked if the reason for not being able to move the bike turn around further westerly. The Engineer responded that can be moved approximately eight feet westerly. He added that he wanted to be a minimum of 100 feet from the intersection. Mr. Groon asked the Engineer for his recommendation for parking. The Engineer responded that parking would be easterly of the bike path entrance. There was further discussion regarding parking configuration.

 

The Clerk interjected that it was his opinion that as much as possible of the parking be moved easterly on the basis of reducing congestion between walkers and bikers versus vehicles. The Chief of Police stated that if the turn around were to be moved closer to Ocean Avenue, the congestion of walkers and bikers versus vehicles would be reduced. Mr. Cabrera inquired if parking on Rambler Road was absolutely necessary, suggesting that the entire block on Rambler be a no parking area. Mr. Groon responded that it was the intent of doing the parking lot to eliminate parking on Rambler Road. The Engineer responded that it was his opinion that parking should be provided close to the bike rental and the tourist center.

 

The Engineer stated that it would be feasible to place 40-50 parking spaces on the northerly side for approximately $300,000.

 

Mr. Cabrera stated that he was not in favor of moving the bike rental easterly because it would not make it visible from the street. Mr. Groon stated that an agreement of concept was needed at this meeting. Mrs. Gould stated that the bike rental has been in that vicinity for over forty years, making it familiar with everyone. She added that the new building will be more attractive than the existing building and people will quickly know the building is there.

 

Mr. Cabrera stated that the plan will have to be revised to accommodate the suggestions coming from this meeting. The Engineer stated that he could have the drawings completed in a few days.

 

The Clerk asked the Engineer, since time was of the essence, if the plan would be finalized by July 21st, and would the Engineer be able to have bid documents prepared in time to receive bids by mid-August. The Engineer stated that he could have the bid documents completed within two weeks after authorization. The Clerk stated that bids would have to be received around August 14th. The Engineer responded that August 17th would be a better date for him. The Clerk stated that the governing body could then provide an award by the end of August to come within the September grant deadline.

 

There was further discussion regarding parking configuration and safety considerations, with input from the Chief of Police. The Clerk stated that parallel parking would maintain consistency throughout the Borough and that any “diagonal” change may create a number of exposures for the Borough.

 

Mr. Cabrera reiterated his suggestion that the plans be redrawn to encompass the suggestions made at this meeting.

 

Mr. Groon summarized by stating that it was agreed to take the current plan, move the turn around westerly to provide further separation, and to readdress the parking situation.

 

The Clerk stated that if the desired space between the turn around and the bike rental building is not achieved, the parking area would be significantly impeded and greater congestion in the area could lead to accidents.

 

Mr. Groon asked the public for comments.

 

Alan Seijas stated that it was his understanding that the issues were traffic flow and safety. It was his suggestion that guiderail fencing should be installed in the original design. Mr. Groon stated that it was desired to have open access. Mr. Cabrera suggested bollards may be utilized.

 

Nancy Pietropaoli, 6002 Seaview Avenue, stated with regard to the parking issue that it would be “relatively simple” to use the vacant lot for bike rental parking and other Borough functions. She suggested that decals could be issued to control parking.

 

Joe Russo stated that the vacant lot has been utilized for parking for many years, and suggested that it be permitted with a gate to prohibit access at night.

 

The Engineer responded to Ms. Pietropaoli and Mr. Russo by stated that the lots are utilized occasionally for temporary parking, but they will not hold up for daily parking.

 

Mr. Cabrera inquired if a smaller version of the parking originally contemplated would be feasible within the $1.6 million. The Engineer responded that 100 spaces would not be feasible, but perhaps 60 spaces could be accomplished. Mr. Cabrera reminded those present that the additional parking spaces would drive additional revenues for the Borough. Mrs. Gould stated that the funds were earmarked to repair the Crest Pier roof and if they were utilized for the parking lot that money would have to be borrowed. Mr. Cabrera responded that the parking spaces would provide long term revenue for the Borough. The Clerk stated that in the short term the Borough’s debt service would be significantly impacted by having to borrow for the Crest Pier roof in the event existing funds are diverted.

 

Mr. Russo asked if the parking would be metered. Mr. Groon responded that it had been the original intent to make the parking lot metered. Mr. Russo agreed that parking should be a consideration.

 

After further discussion, it was decided that the Engineer would be instructed to make the adjustments to the bike turn around and the bike rental/bathrooms building to provide the separation needed for traffic flow, as well as a configuration for parking purposes on Rambler Road.

 

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

Vote:          Gould-Cabrera-Groon-Yes

 

Dated:        August 25, 2010

Kevin M. Yecco, Borough Clerk

MINUTES OF MEETINGS INDEX