Woods Hit By Fire, Neighborhoods Suffer Floods

The commercial building at 150 Airport Road was destroyed by fire. (Photo by Judy Smestad-Nunn)

BRICK – As more land is covered with buildings, pavement, asphalt and other site improvement materials that resist water infiltration, water runoff tends to build up in the streets, which is a particular problem in the township’s low-lying areas, said Council President Lisa Crate during the a recent council meeting.

  To address the problem, the governing body passed an ordinance on its first reading that establishes impervious coverage limitations in residential zones. The Land Use staff recommended this as a way to reduce flooding, she said.

  There are already impervious coverage limitations in place in commercial zones, Crate said.

  The township’s FloodPlain Management Committee also recommended that limitations be placed on impervious coverage on residential properties as part of the floodplain management plan that was accepted and adopted by the township’s Planning Board as a Master Plan element, the council president said.

   The Stormwater Management Plan also recommends the implementation of impervious coverage limitations to assist in the management of stormwater infrastructure and increase areas of groundwater infiltration, Crate said.

A shed and a boat were damaged by fire on a resident’s property. (Photo by Judy Smestad-Nunn)

  “Therefore impervious limitations are consistent with the township’s Master Plan,” she said.

  The proposed impervious coverage limitations are: Zone R-5, 70 percent; Zone R-7.5, 65 percent; Zone R-10, 60 percent; Zone R-15, 55 percent; Zone R-20, 50 percent; and Zone RR, 30 percent impervious coverage limitations. There will be a second reading and public comment on the ordinance at the next council meeting.

  In other news, the township is going out to bid again for bamboo removal services since the administration terminated a contract with Poison Ivy Removal of Huntington Station, NY.

  The almost $40,000 contract, made in November, was to remove bamboo on a small strip of township-owned property separating the homes on Cleveland and National Avenues. The bamboo has spread onto six adjoining backyards, and residents have been unable to contain the invasive species.  

  “The vendor has failed to provide paperwork and has also failed to address the proposed scope of work,” Crate said.

  The council passed a resolution that confirmed the contract termination and authorized a receipt of bids for a new vendor so the township can proceed with this work, she said.   

  Previously, only two bids were received – the one that was awarded, and a second bid of $240,000.

  And lastly, Mayor John G. Ducey thanked all the fire companies – from Brick and from other towns – that helped to protect houses in Brick Lake Park during the March 14 fire that burned 167 acres, shut down the Garden State Parkway between exits 83 and 90, and critically injured a firefighter.

The woods in the industrial park were damaged by fire. (Photo by Judy Smestad-Nunn)

  “It started over in Lakewood, which was somewhat lucky for us because it gave our fire companies plenty of time to get ready and start going over to Lakewood to fight it, but then instead didn’t get the chance to get over there,” he said.

  “They had to come back to Brick and protect our houses as well as our businesses along Route 70, like Lowe’s, Chick-Fil-A and Raymour and Flanagan,” he said.

  The mayor also thanked the township Police Department and EMS, and the NJ Forest Fire Service.

  “We would have lost many, many houses if they weren’t out there in those backyards,” he said.

  To view footage of the fire, visit the Brick Police Facebook page, which has posted a video of the fire that shows how powerful it was, Mayor Ducey said.    

  “At the beginning of the video, it just looks like a couple of firefighters out there, spraying the grass and spraying the houses a little bit, and then about 25 seconds in, the shed and the fence and everything is engulfed in flames,” he said. “The flames were 25-30 feet in the air.”

  In the end, the only property damage was to sheds, fences, decks, siding and mulch piles, he said. No houses were lost.

  On Friday, March 19, Ocean County Prosecutor Bradley D. Billhimer released a statement saying that they had located the origin of the fire, and that it was intentionally set.

  Billhimer said that the fire remains an active and ongoing investigation, and anyone with knowledge of information concerning this fire is urged to contact Sgt. Thomas Haskell of the Ocean County Prosecutor’s Office at 732 929-2027, extension 3953.

  The next council meeting will be on Tuesday, April 13 at 7 p.m.