Beach Haven Council Approves Controversial Redevelopment Plan Amid Public Discontent

In the latest Beach Haven Borough Council meeting, a debate ensued over the adoption of the Redevelopment Plan for Block 205 Lots one and two, which includes a condemnation clause. Despite public opposition, the council moved forward with the plan aimed at addressing property contamination. Additionally, the council recognized the historical significance of the Beach Haven Free Public Library by designating it as a museum and discussed amendments to various ordinances and resolutions.

The Beach Haven Borough Council voted to adopt the Redevelopment Plan for Block 205 Lots one and two, sparking a debate between council members and pushback from the public. The final ordinance, 2023-38, proved to be the most controversial topic of the night, with council members such as Catherine Snyder and Nancy Taggart Davis voicing concerns over the condemnation of the property. Snyder, despite her reservations and willingness to delay the vote, chose to support the ordinance due to an impending agreement with the property owners for remediation. Davis also expressed her unease with the condemnation aspect of the plan.

The public, including Mary Lee Pence, Chuck Cook, Margie Cook, and Anne Fullerton, made their frustrations and distrust known, calling for a delay in the ordinance and greater collaboration with the property owners. They pointed out the financial implications for taxpayers and the lack of communication that left some, like Fullerton’s elderly parents, taken by surprise. Despite the outcry, the council did not offer further explanations or responses to these concerns during the meeting.

Mayor Colleen Lambert underscored the commitment to land remediation, emphasizing the need for cooperation in ensuring the land is made safe for the community’s benefit. This commitment to remediation was a recurring theme throughout the meeting.

In a move celebrating the town’s heritage, Council member Jaime Baumiller presented the resolution that officially recognizes the Beach Haven Free Public Library as a museum. The library, with a history dating back to the 1880s, has been a cornerstone for preserving the historical narrative of Beach Haven. The council unanimously approved the resolution, cementing the library’s role in safeguarding the town’s artifacts and documents.

The council also addressed future ordinances, including one to amend fees for lead-based paint inspections and another to change zoning ordinance amendments to ensure consistent front yard setbacks for new constructions. This zoning amendment sparked a discussion among the council members, who weighed the benefits of historical preservation against the need for consistent construction standards.

In terms of the management of city affairs, the meeting covered various resolutions set for the reorganization meeting agenda, including the annual meeting notice, check signers, and the adoption of Robert’s Rules of Order. The awarding of professional services contracts and managerial appointments for the Community Development Block Grant were discussed, along with the establishment of meeting dates for grant applications and municipal holiday recognitions.

Furthermore, the council reviewed professional services contracts over the pay-to-play threshold of $17,500, which included legal, engineering, and inspection services. Notably, there was a proposal to increase the salary for summer officers to attract more applicants. Public comments featured a call for a correction to a historical document’s authorship and general expressions of hope for improved relations in the New Year.

Note: This meeting summary was generated by AI, which can occasionally misspell names, misattribute actions, and state inaccuracies. This summary is intended to be a starting point and you should review the meeting record linked above before acting on anything you read. If we got something wrong, let us know. We’re working every day to improve our process in pursuit of universal local government transparency.

Colleen Lambert
City Council Officials:
Nancy Taggart Davis, Catherine Snyder, Jaime Baumiller, Michael McCaffrey

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