BRICK – Council members voted to place parking restrictions at the playground parking lot at Traders Cove Park and Marina that would allow cars to park for just two hours between 7 a.m. and 6 p.m. from May 15 until Sept. 15.
Council Vice President Lisa Crate said the ordinance reestablishes the timed restriction to ensure that the lot is only used by people who are using the facilities and amenities at the park.
During public comment on the ordinance, resident and former Republican council candidate Charlie Bacon asked why the ordinance was necessary.
“How did this ordinance start? What was the genesis of it? Does it go through a committee first?” he asked.
Township business administrator Joanne Bergin said that the marina staff had relayed that there were problems associated with a number of people coming to Traders Cove on the weekends and parking in the area by the playground, which is located near the transient boat slip area.
“So people would walk over to the transient slip and get picked up by a boat, and they would spend the day on the boat out in the water,” she said, leaving their cars parked in the playground area.
Families who came to use the playground were forced to park in distant lots, so that was the start of the discussion, Bergin said, which was then brought to the attention of the Recreation Committee.
When a department has a challenge that could be addressed by an ordinance, they run it by the business administrator or the council president to explain the problem, she said.
“The goal of the ordinance was simply to have a mechanism in place that would ensure that folks wanting to use the playground had a spot close by to park and enjoy the playground,” she said.
Last year was the first year the parking restriction ordinance was in place. Bergin said she recently asked the marina staff if the parking restriction was effective last year, and they said it was very helpful.
Councilman Jim Fozman was the only council member who voted against the ordinance.
“There are 70 parking spaces in that parking area, there’s plenty of parking for everybody,” he said.
Fozman, the lone Republican on council, said the ordinance is “unenforceable…what are you going to do? Have the police go out there and chalkmark the tires and then two hours later check the tires?
“I don’t see any use for this at all,” he said. “I think this is a money grab….I think it’s just ridiculous. No other park has this, just this one.”
Bergin said parks security is responsible for enforcing the measure, not the police.
Foodtown Site Delay
In other news, Mayor John G. Ducey said he was “finally able to sit down and get some information about what is going on, and why it’s taking so long” for construction to begin on the sports dome planned for the former Foodtown site.
A number of permits are still needed before the developer can break ground, from groups such as Ocean County Soil Conservation and the New Jersey Department of Environmental Protection. A response is needed from a Letter of Interpretation that has been submitted; the Brick Township Municipal Utilities Authority has to take a look at the application; and it needs to go before the Ocean County Hearing Board, Ducey said. When all these are completed it would be submitted to CAFRA (Coastal Area Facilities Review Act), the portion of the DEP that handles development near bodies of water, he added.
“So that’s what we’re waiting for,” Ducey said. “It’s not necessarily government red tape, you have to go through these hoops, but I guess it’s all there for protection.”
The sports dome developer is working hand-in-hand with the developer of the retail component that will be located in the front portion of the 11-acre site.
HFZ Brick LLC plans to build a 75,000 square-foot “Super Dome” in the rear of the property, fronted by and attached to a two-story 26,880 square foot building.
M&M Development plans to construct three retail buildings fronting Route 70, including a 22,978 square foot retail building, two attached retail units of 6,400 square feet, and a separate 4,300 square foot restaurant pad drive-through.
“The sports dome wants to be open as soon as possible, but the developer up front with the stores is okay with waiting a few years,” Ducey said.
The next council meeting will be on Tuesday May 28 at 7 p.m.