Learning Experience

Sep 25, 2019

To the Editor:

Several weeks ago I submitted a Faulkner Act petition with the signatures of 54 Beach Haven taxpayers to our borough council. The petition requested that the council revert to a 2012 Beach Haven ordinance that required off-street parking for new real estate developments to avoid additional parking, traffic and pedestrian safety problems and risk in our community. The off-street parking requirements in our petition varied by line of business, while the current ordinance does not.

The petition I submitted was ruled invalid by our borough manager, which was an appropriate administrative decision. While I did receive guidance from the legislative and regulatory affairs officer at the state Division of Local Government, the Faulkner Act is complex procedurally, and I missed a couple of requirements.

The integrity in failure is learning, and I did learn from this experience. The Faulkner Act is an important option whenever taxpayers do not believe their voices are being heard. If used in the future, I will make sure my ducks are in order.

While the Faulkner petition is limited to Beach Haven registered voters only, I heard from many stakeholders in our community, especially non-resident taxpayers, during this process. The common thread was that they do not believe their opinions matter to our elected representatives.

It would have been refreshing (but not expected) to hear from our borough manager and/or any of our council members that, while the petition was ineligible procedurally, they understand that 54 registered borough voters have an opinion, and that it does matter.

Going forward I will continue to do what I can to increase transparency, gain the wisdom of the crowd, and influence responsible decision-making by our local government.

As always, send an email to engagebeachhaven@gmail.com with any questions. On our Engage Beach Haven Facebook page our membership has skyrocketed from 60-plus members in July to 532 members today.

John Harvey

Beach Haven








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