Township Says No to Extra Parking in Bayview Park

Residents’ Opposition: Loss of Green Space
Jul 03, 2019
Photo by: Juliet Kaszas-Hoch

Long Beach Township has pulled its proposal to create seven parking spots on the north end of Bayview Park, in Brant Beach, after a public hearing held Monday evening.

“We are not moving forward,” Mayor Joseph Mancini said in an email late Tuesday morning.

Of the 25-30 individuals at the hearing, most of whom spoke, nearly all were against any plan that would interfere with the marshy area. Many of the residents were concerned about loss and disruption of habitat for birds, turtles and other creatures.

Janet Drew of the Beach Haven Gardens section offered the famed lyrics “They paved paradise to put up a parking lot,” from the Joni Mitchell song “Big Yellow Taxi,” to reflect her opposition. The town proposal was to include seven parking spaces, three of them ADA accessible, with a crushed oyster shell base.

Drew pointed to the Island-wide issue of the loss of green space – and more and more impervious surfaces, and larger and larger structures – citing the new Hotel LBI in Ship Bottom, and plans for a 102-room hotel in Beach Haven where Morrison’s restaurant once stood.

Resident Paul Baldini agreed that the “milieu” of the Island has been dismantled by all the development.

Township attorney Tennant Magee and Holgate resident Bill Hutson both pointed out that Long Beach Township is concerned about preserving open space and is, overall, environmentally minded – demonstrated by its longstanding open space tax and, at the Board of Commissioners meeting earlier in the day, an ordinance passed to acquire 22 acres in Holgate for conservation. They noted the township’s recent passage of a plastic bag ban, and a balloon release ban, among other forward-thinking initiatives.

In other business at the board meeting that afternoon, Rob Clifton, senior director of government affairs for Comcast, gave a brief presentation regarding the company’s request for a franchise renewal from the township. Mancini asked, “Can we get a local office back on the Island?” (Comcast vacated its building in Ship Bottom earlier this year.)

“Unfortunately, no,” said Clifton, who noted that Comcast is opening an office in Manahawkin.

The commissioners pointed out that it’s not feasible for residents to drive to the mainland during the busy summer months when they need a modem or a cable box. Those in attendance agreed, and also noted Comcast’s poor track record for providing service over the phone, their high prices and their local monopoly.

Comcast representatives and township officials are due to meet soon to hash out the situation.

Commissioner Joseph Lattanzi, meanwhile, offered an update on the LBI Shuttle, pointing out that ridership on the bus that runs from the Island to the mainland, near the state motor vehicles office in Manahawkin, has been relatively slow. That addition to the program, though, is still in its early stages.

The commissioners said the municipality’s first Fire Pit Friday, on the 68th Street ocean beach, was a big success. The event, which includes music, is held each Friday from 7:30-9:30 p.m. Visit longbeachtownship.com for a full list of activities and concerts in the township this summer.

The next meeting of the Long Beach Township Commission is scheduled for 4 p.m. Monday, Aug. 5.

Juliet Kaszas-Hoch

juliet@thesandpaper.net

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