Jenkinson's May Have to Build Dunes to Inlet Jetty to Help Prevent Flooding
Point Beach Borough Council votes for preliminary meeting between borough attorney and dune inspector to see if dune ordinance must be changed
Point Beach may ultimately insist that Jenkinson's build dunes up to the Manasquan Inlet jetty to help prevent the kind of flooding brought on by Hurricane Irene.
At Tuesday night's Point Beach Borough Council meeting, the council voted for Borough Attorney Thomas Gannon and borough dune inspector Peter Ritchings to meet regarding whether the existing dune ordinance needs to be changed to possibly mandate that dunes be constructed up to the jetty.
Jenkinson's owns the beach, but the federal government owns the jetty.
Originally, the resolution was for Borough Engineer Ray Savacool to also be at the meeting with the attorney and dune inspector.
However, Councilmen Jeff Dyer and Tim Lurie objected to the engineer's presence, saying that would cost money unnecessarily.
Councilwoman Kristine Tooker noted that because the dune inspector is a volunteer, his presence at the meeting would not cost the town any money.
Dyer and Lurie also said they would have preferred first getting an opinion from the state Department of Environmental Protection to find out what would be allowed.
Mayor Vincent Barrella said, "Before we start dealing with the state, I want to know what our rights are."
However, he added he did not mind if the engineer was not at the meeting. So, after some discussion, the resolution was amended to no longer call for the engineer to be present and the four council members present voted for the resolution.
Councilmen Sean Hennessy and Frank Rizzo were absent.
When Dyer was objecting to spending money on the engineer being at the meeting, Barrella asked him if he was supposed to be commenting and whether he had a conflict of interest.
"I don't think you can comment on this resolution," Barrella said.
"No, I can comment on this, mayor," Dyer said.
"Didn't you recuse yourself from past votes?" Barrella asked, referring to how Dyer had recused him from voting on matters that affected Jenkinson's.
"Stop interrupting me," Dyer countered.
"Are you still consulting with a business that would be affected by this?" Barrella continued.
"It's not consulting, it's marketing," Dyer said, adding, "Yes, with one."
After the meeting, Dyer said his company, Shore Mobile Marketing, which sells marketing systems using mobile devices, is still doing business with Jenkinson's, a business arrangement that began earlier this year.
He said he had sought legal advice from Gannon prior to the meeting and Gannon said he did not think Dyer had a conflict of interest regarding the resolution because it was only to authorize a meeting.
When asked after the meeting, Gannon also said he did not think the resolution was a conflict of interest for Dyer.
"I didn't think there was a problem, because there's not a direct connection," Gannon said after the meeting. "If he has to vote on an ordinance for this, it might be an issue."
Dyer said after the meeting that if there is a vote for Jenkinson's to build dunes, he did not think he would vote on it.
"I would ask the lawyer, which I always do, but, in my opinion, I wouldn't vote on that, because that's something direct," he said.
Barrella said dunes may be needed to help protect against flooding, such as when the ocean crashed over the boardwalk at Arnold Avenue during the height of Hurricane Irene.
He said the flooding caused a lot of water damage to nearby homes and that something needed to be done to help prevent a reoccurrence in future storms.
Guy Dempsey, the town's emergency management coordinator, who had watched the ocean rush over the boardwalk during Irene, said that in the 1980s, the DEP was saying that all beaches should have dunes.
"Risden's complied," Dempsey said. "But we ran into resistance with one beach. I just wanted to let you know, you're going to get resistance."