Ortley Taxpayers Association President Blames Toms River Township for Amount of Storm Damage During Sandy
TOMS RIVER–At the December 11th Toms River Township Council meeting, Kathy Barisciano, President of the Ortley Beach Voters and Taxpayers Association pointed blame for the amount of storm destruction in Ortley Beach on the township’s dune management prior to the Hurricane.
“Ortley Beach sustained significant damage because the dune elevation was not high enough or wide enough and the beach elevation has suffered over the years,” she said. “We have reports from Dr. Farrell at Stockton and I’m sure the people at Stevens Institute will tell us the same thing. We need to build up our elevation and we need our dunes wider and…more substantial.”
She then asked Council President Mo Hill, “If we do not get the easements and we cannot get the Army Corps of Engineers in here, what is plan B, because obviously if we had the rebuild beaches or reconstruct beaches, we wouldn’t be in this bad shape in Ortley Beach.”
Council President Mo Hill said the Army Corps of Engineers will not come in and the township will remain unprotected. He also said FEMA funding will not cover replenishment above and beyond what existed prior to Hurricane Sandy and in order to replenish the beach, the easements are needed. As of Tuesday, December 11, the township secured just two of thirty easements needed to begin the project.
Hill said the easement is required along the entire beachfront, including at the property owned by Joey Harrison’s Surf Club, which was destroyed during the hurricane.
Other residents criticized the township for their dune management strategies in the past.
Township Engineer Bob Chankalian summed up the township’s position, “Quiet frankly, if it’s us versus the ocean, the ocean wins, anything we build out there is superficial.”
Hill said that it’s critical that the township obtains the easements. ”It’s the only way we can build the dunes bigger and better,” he said.