Tuckerton Building Is Demolished, Borough Seeks Grants for Sea Level Rise Remediation

By Pat Johnson | Nov 06, 2019
Photo by: Pat Johnson Old building that had been apartments is torn down on Main Street in Tuckerton. Retail shops and parking are planned for the future.

Tuckerton — An old storefront on Tuckerton’s West Main Street is being demolished to make way for parking and new retail shops. On Monday, before the Nov. 4 municipal meeting, Tuckerton Councilman Keith Vreeland explained that although the borough recently adopted a historic district ordinance that prohibits the demolishing of old buildings for a year while the Tuckerton Historic Preservation Commission gets a preservation survey done, in cases where buildings are structurally unsound, they could be torn down.

The building has stood for around 100 years and was once a 5- and 10-cent store, though recently it was apartments, and it has no historical significance.

Borough Code Enforcer Phil Reed did an inspection of the premises and found it to be in poor shape and not habitable, said Vreeland. “As an architect, there comes a point when you ask, does it make sense to keep a building that no one can use?”

Besides serving on council, Vreeland is a member of both the land use board and the historic preservation commission.

During the borough’s municipal meeting, the council approved spending $10,000 to have BRS Inc. research two grants available from the Federal Emergency Management Agency. The first is a Pre-disaster Mitigation Grant to replace bulkheading along Water Street and Main Street around the vacant Grist Mill building. The cost is estimated at $472,200. Tuckerton would match 25 percent of the grant, or $118,050.

The second is a three-part grant request from the Flood Mitigation Assistance Grant program for construction of living shorelines in the Tuckerton Beach area. Three potential areas have been identified: the end of Little Egg Harbor Boulevard, estimated to cost $1.05 million (Tuckerton’s match would be $262,500); South Green Street for $1.2 million (Tuckerton would pay $300,000); and the Knoeller property that is wetlands to the east of South Green Street for $3.75 million (Tuckerton would need to match $937,500).

According to the letter to the borough from BRS Inc. dated Oct. 22, “Application for these funds is contingent upon the benefit cost analysis demonstrating a positive return, based on the historic damages and the dollar value of current National Flood Insurance Policy insured homes that would be protected.”

Borough representatives and project stakeholders will participate in a planning conference call that will result in a draft strategy to present to the New Jersey Office of Emergency Management during another conference call. Since NJOEM will rank the application with others from other municipalities, its support is imperative, wrote BRS Inc. Once this is done, BRS Inc. will complete the FEMA application and have it ready for Tuckerton to forward electronically to FEMA by the deadline of Nov. 30.

BRS Inc. is the organization that obtained the $2.1 million National Fish and Wildlife Foundation grant that allowed Little Egg Harbor Township to build up a shoreline off Iowa Court on Osborn Island and the South Green Street breakwater in Tuckerton.

In other news, Councilman John Schwartz said waterfront residents who want to have dredging in front of their dock or bulkheads must apply individually to the state Department of Environmental Protection for a permit that typically costs $1,000, and then negotiate with whatever dredging company the borough hires to dredge parts of the lagoons. Each waterfront property could have up to 100 cubic yards of dredge material removed. Although it has the permits needed, the borough has not yet hired a dredging company. During the Oc. 23 municipal meeting, the council approved a resolution to have Borough Engineer Frank Little prepare an application to the state Environmental Infrastructure Trust for funds to dredge Tuckerton’s waterways.

Tuckerton police officers are participating in “No Shave November” to raise money for a cancer foundation. The public works department will close on Sundays starting Dec. 8, and Ye Old Tuckerton Christmas is to be held Dec. 8 from 3 to 7 p.m.

Borough Attorney Christopher J. Connors required an executive session to discuss pending litigation from Tuckerton police officers John Sanzari and Justin Cherry. Cpl. Cherry’s disciplinary hearing is tentatively scheduled to resume on Nov. 12 in the borough courtroom after Hearing officer Bonnie Peterson denied Cherry’s attorney Tracey Riley’s motion to dismiss the case.

— Pat Johnson

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