Traders Cove Dredging Becomes Political Issue

Councilman Jim Fozman addresses fellow council members from the audience. (Photo by Judy Smestad-Nunn)

BRICK – The township has been issued a Notice of Violation by the Bureau of Coastal and Land Use Compliance and Enforcement for unauthorized dredging of Traders Cove Marina and placement of the dredged material at two locations within Brick Township.

The notice was issued after Councilman Jim Fozman called the Director of Government Relations from the Department of Environmental Protection (DEP) on November 19 to report the piles of dredge spoils located behind Town Hall and on the property of the Department of Public Works.

In August, Fozman broke with his fellow Democrats to endorse Republican candidate Bob Hugin for Senate and switched parties shortly thereafter. He has since been challenging the all-Democrat governing body and mayor on a variety of issues.

During the November 5 council meeting, Fozman said he had called the DEP, who came to Brick and “put a stop to everything because there was no permits pulled for this.”

That’s not entirely true, said Mayor John G. Ducey; the township had permits for the work but they had expired, he said.

A US Army Corps of Engineers dredging permit expired Marcy 18, 2017; a Department of Army Permit for dredging Traders Cove expires on December 31, 2018; and a NJDEP permit expired on January 15, 2013.

“A DEP representative came out to Brick to make sure that everything was done correctly,” Ducey said during the Nov. 20 council meeting. “There was no Stop Order – that was an embellishment of the story,” the mayor said. “The DEP representative said just apply for the permit, and the town is already in that process.”

Fozman said if residents or council members “did things without permits, we’d be in serious trouble. We fine people for not having permits and we’re supposed to be setting an example.”

Brick Township Council. (Photo by Judy Smestad-Nunn)

Ducey said, if a resident were to install a hot water heater without a permit, they are not fined right away and hot water is not turned off to the house.

“We tell them to apply for a permit so they are in compliance with the codes,” Ducey said. “There’s no fines that are issued; we inspect to make sure it’s okay, and it’s the same thing here with the dredge material. A representative came out and said yes, you’re doing everything properly. We have to apply for the permit and that’s what we’ve done,” the mayor said.

Township Business Administrator Joanne Bergin said that the county outfall that drains to D-Dock at Traders Cove had silted the last two fingers to the point where they sit on sand at low tide and were starting to experience stress cracks.

She said that the township engineer had discussed the problem and the plans to address the problem by removing sediment with the DEP, who advised her that the township needed to apply for an extension of the dredging application so it could be addressed annually, which is underway.

During the Dec. 4 council meeting, Fozman left the dais and seated himself in the audience and spoke during public comment.

He asked what the dredging cost. Bergin said the Traders Cove project was not bid out as an individual project, but was a part of the township engineering department’s maintenance funding they have available in their operating budget.

“For two months I have been seeking answers about the illegal dredging at Traders Cove,” Fozman said. “Not one council colleague said anything about it. I as a council person should not have to jump through hoops to find out about information pertaining to all of us,” he said.

Ducey said the township would be in full compliance with the DEP’s Notice of Violation.

“This one is on us, unfortunately, due to the dredging at Traders Cove and the placement of the dredge material at Town Hall and the DPW,” he said.

The dredge material would be tested, silt fences would be installed and maintained at both locations, the Water Development Permit would be completed in 30 days, and the township would supply a copy of the contract with Albert Marine, per the violation letter.

“We’ll see how it all proceeds from here,” Ducey said.

The Festival of Trees is on display. This year’s theme is “Movies.” The organizations who decorated the trees are:
Jersey Coast Shark Anglers, the Brick Library, DAV (Disabled American Vets), BTMUA, Jersey Shore Animal Center, Brick Kiwanis, Brick Garden Club and the Chamber of Commerce. (Photo by Judy Smestad-Nunn)