Temporary Repairs to Forked River Beach Completed
Beach restored to pre-Irene conditions, officials say, but permanent solution still in works
With the Lacey Township Committee's approval Thursday night of the emergency purchase of 1,000 tons of rock, officials said the temporary repairs to Forked River Beach are completed.
"This is a temporary solution," Township Clerk Veronica Laureigh said after she read the details of the resolution to the committee. "We are looking for a permanent solution."
The rock, 9- to 15-inch pieces, cost $27,500 and was paid for with funding the township received to make repairs after Hurricane Irene damaged it in August 2011.
Residents begged the township to address the situation in the wake of storms that followed the destruction caused by Hurricane Sandy. The beachfront has receded 58 feet over the last 15 years, residents have said, and the most recent damage had put property and homes at risk.
The township was able to move forward with the emergency repairs after the state amended regulations to allow towns to do emergency repair work without going through an extensive permit process through the Department of Environmental Protection.
There was no timetable given on permanent repairs.
In other action by the Township Committee Thursday night:
-- The Committee agreed to amend a contract with Witt Group Holdings to approve an additional $25,000 in payments to the firm, which is filing the township's claims with FEMA for reimbursement. Witt has filed nearly $1 million in claims so far, Laureigh said.
Mayor David Most said the state is in the process of contracting with Witt, and said that if and when that contract is completed, the fact that Lacey already has been working with them should ease the process for the town. It also should enable the town to recover 100 percent of its costs related to Sandy, Most said.
-- Most urged residents whose homes were damaged by Hurricane Sandy to apply for loans through the Small Business Administration as soon as possible, if they have not already done so. The deadline to do so is Jan. 30. SBA loans are available to help homeowners repair and rebuild after Sandy.
Most warned that many of those whose homes were damaged will have to raise them to avoid flood insurance rates of as much as $20,000.
"We don't have any control over flood insurance in this community," Most said. "I feel bad for those folks but we have to educate them about what is happening."
Most urged those dealing with damage from Sandy to go to the FEMA recovery centers and take advantage of what is available to help them.
-- The committee agreed to take bids for fertilizing the township's fields, with Committeeman Sean Sharkey and Committeewoman Helen de la Cruz voting no. De la Cruz said she felt the town should not be spending money on fertilizer given all the budget stress from Sandy.