OCUA Says “No” to use of property as passive park

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.