On Saturday, May 6th Friends of Ortley Beach held their first event. A new plaque was unveiled that shows the original structure on the site of the current Lord House life guard house on the boardwalk at 4th Avenue. The original structure on the site was the Ortley Inn, about 1900. Ancestors of the original owners attended the event as well as Toms River Mayor Kelaher and Council woman Maria Maruca. The program for this great event is HERE
Despite the best efforts of OBVTA and many of its members, the Ocean County Utility Authority voted “No” on converting any portion of their property in Ortley Beach to a park for passive recreation.
About 40 members of OBVTA attended their public meeting on Thursday, August 25th.
Chairman Parker allowed each commissioner to make a statement about whether they supported , or opposed the use of their property for passive recreation. A few were neutral, but most had one excuse or another to not allow such use. Many of their excuses were based on incorrect information, despite our best efforts to educate them. Following their statements, Chairman Parker stated his own objections, which again seemed to assume that OCUA would “lose” their property. He was closed minded about the entire idea from the beginning, stays that way, and has strong influence over all of the commissioners.
Paul Jeffrey, President, clarified many of the facts and made yet another plea to allow the conversion to passive recreation use. Several OBVTA members then very well articulated their views. Unfortunately Toms River did not send a representative to the meeting despite our requests to do so, and this weakened our position. The commissioners listened, but clearly had their minds made up before coming to the meeting.
Following a short closed session, the OCUA board returned to the meeting room, a motion was made to keep use of the OCUA land as it is now and took a vote. The commissioner votes were unanimous to support no change.
The OBVTA Board has not decided on next steps, if any, but will discuss at our next Board meeting.
The event and the contests were only possible because of over 40 people who donated ther time to plan, set up, conduct and take down all the events. Please note our wonderful business sponsors in Ortley Beach and frequent their businesses:
On Wednesday, August 17th the Toms River Planning Board heard comments from residents of Toms River, including Ortley Beach, about public comments collected as input to revision of the Master Plan.
Comments and recommendations collected at our OBVTA meetings and at other venues received from Ortley Beach residents and OBVTA members are shown at the link below.
Please note that the Township and Planning Board have not yet taken a position on these recommendations and comments provided by Ortley Beach residents. During the Wednesday evening meeting The Planning Board was presented with all the comments regarding rezoning and redevelopment area requests. The purpose of the meeting was to get policy direction from the public and the Planning Board regarding these matters only.
The next step will be public hearings on the proposals put forth by the Toms River Planning Dept. to the Planning Board. Those hearings will probably occur in October and we will keep you informed of the dates.
A complete list of public input for all of Toms River for the revised master plan can be found here
See recent communication below from the NJ DEP on dune and beach replenishment:
As of July 29, the State of NJ conveyed all the necessary properties (including associated paperwork) to the US Army Corps. NJ DEP discussed timing with US Army Corps at an event with Senator Booker. They are finalizing their plans and are striving to conclude that by end of August. In all likelihood, the actual bid will start beginning of September. Between the DEP and Senator Booker, NJ DEP is applying as much pressure to have this huge project out to bid as soon as possible. There should be a firm bid date in the next couple weeks.
In the interim, NJ DEP has focused their workforce to tackle the outstanding properties in Pt. Pleasant, Bay Head, and Berkeley (the “option” areas for the contract). They hope to have those properties completed by end-of-year.
Also see the article HERE on Toms River’s plans for temporary dune work that will likely be needed prior to the project completion.
And an article HERE about the ongoing issues with property owners in Bayhead.
OBVTA had a successful meeting with the Ocean County Utility Authority and again pleaded that a portion of their property be converted to a public park. While the Authority Chairman, John Parker, raised several objections, OBVTA had a counter argument for each objection. Several OBVTA members spoke including Paul Jeffrey, President, Mike Wymbs, Director, and OBVTA members Paul Lagana, Sherman Barton, Bill Kastow and Robert Steigelman. Together we made strong arguments for OCUA to consider our proposal. Press coverage included Asbury Park Press, WOBM 92.7 FM Radio, News Channel 12 and ShoreBeat. Links to the articles are below
At the end of the meeting OCUA Chairman John Parker agreed to speak with the other OCUA commissioners and discuss our proposal. He, himself, remains strongly against any change.
While Ortley Beach escaped the serious flooding experienced by Cape May County, the temporary dune system is essentially completely destroyed. Toms River added a secondary line of dunes near the ocean prior to the storm, but that dune line, a second dune line and the primry dunes were all substantially washed away by three consecutive high tides. Pictures are below.
The highest tide on the bayside occurred Sunday about noon, but flooding was limited to the usual low lying streets.
We will be in contact with Toms River officials this week who will surely promptly restore the temporary dunes – until the next storm.
In the meantime, OBVTA continues to receive updates from NJ DEP and the NJ Attorney General’s office who are attempting to obtain the necessary easements for the permanent dune system. As well as a quite a few holdouts which are advancing in the eminent domain process, there is incresing concern about the beach associations in Toms River and Brick who have not signed the new easement that is required to replace the prior easement plus side agreement. More about that soon.
An official report on the NJ storm damage is here:
OBVTA Members, Residents and Friends of Ortley Beach,
Thank you all for a hugely successful July 18th march and rally for the dunes. Over 500 people participated!
We got great news coverage in the papers, online and on TV.
This kind of effort by all of you is making a difference.
Now that we have the letter (in writing!) from Commissioner Martin of NJ DEP agreeing that the dune and beach replenishment project can be completed in sections, the OBVTA Board will continue to work with Toms River, our State legislators and surrounding communities to obtain more easements and push for action on the eminent domain process. We will have future communications with NJ DEP and keep you informed.
Attached are a few pictures and links to articles and news stories that covered the event on Saturday.
Enjoy, you made it happen.
Also is a link to a great documentary from our Trenton rally which is airing on Asbury Park TV. Thank you to Kelly McKenna for this!
Paul Jeffrey, President, OBVTA
Please click on the link below to view Video and Pics of the Rally on Saturday 7/18. (Compliments of Stop FEMA Now)
Rally to raise the Dunes in Ortley, NJ
CHECK OUT THIS LINK to the 30 minute interview Paul Jeffery conducted with Maggie of WMGQ, 98.3 FM It aired live last weekend and her producer put together this package with the video. The link includes the written story, the 30 minute radio show, and an Ortley Beach video.