Belmar Council Addresses Boardwalk Revitalization and Feral Cat Population

The Belmar Borough Council recently convened to discuss a series of initiatives impacting the community, including a notable $1.5 million grant for Boardwalk improvements, the management of the local feral cat population, and the enforcement of handicap parking. The meeting saw the council deliberate on the allocation of the Department of Community Affairs grant, which is set to enhance the Boardwalk with new facilities and repairs. Additionally, the Council engaged with the public on environmental concerns, animal control programs, and community events.

The most development from the meeting was the announcement of the $1.5 million grant aimed at revitalizing the Belmar Boardwalk. The grant, which exceeded council expectations, is allocated for a range of improvements, including the construction of new bathroom facilities, support for restroom trailers, and deck repairs. The council emphasized the urgency to prioritize these projects, as they are essential for the Boardwalk’s structural integrity and the convenience of its visitors. Discussions also touched upon the need for better signage along the Boardwalk, including addressing flutter flags, banners, and painted signs, alongside temporary signs in residential areas.

Another pressing topic was the environmental remediation at the 1200 Main property. The council underscored the importance of addressing potential hazards within the building and weighed a proposal to monitor the direction of groundwater contamination through the installation of permanent and temporary monitoring wells. Concerns about contaminated soil and groundwater vapor were also raised, particularly with regards to their proximity to a local school. This sparked a discussion on the spread of contamination and the necessary actions to mitigate any adverse effects on public health and the environment.

The management of the feral cat population in Belmar was another focal point of the meeting. Chief Goar from the Monmouth County SPCA presented the Trap Neuter and Release (TNR) program, which seeks to humanely control the feral cat population through spaying, neutering, vaccinating, and ear-tipping. The program also encourages residents to become colony caretakers, offering a framework for those who wish to feed feral cats without facing penalties. The presentation prompted several questions from the council and public, particularly on the vaccination process, the age for trapping kittens, and the feasibility of a cat licensing ordinance. Concerns were voiced about the challenges of enforcing such an ordinance and the implications for multifamily dwellings.

The Environmental Commission reported a successful initiative to reduce the geese population at Silver Lake, largely attributed to the use of drones to deter the birds. They extended an invitation to the community to attend their next meeting. The Harbor Commission, meanwhile, sought solutions for pilings and discussed market research for open and charter boats. Updates were provided on a diverse array of community interests, including the Verizon situation, sign-ups for various Parks and Recreation programs, and upcoming school events.

During the public hearing, the topic of handicap parking permits garnered attention. There was debate on the efficacy of enforcing handicap parking, with comparisons drawn to Wall Township’s active enforcement. A resident suggested that handicapped parking spaces should be tied to the individual and include a renewal process to ensure proper use and availability. The council discussed the approval, monitoring, and potential for incorporating a renewal requirement for handicapped parking spaces.

The council also touched upon the need for permanent bathrooms on the boardwalk, the bid for such facilities at Taylor Pavilion, and the possibility of placing additional permanent restrooms along the boardwalk. Another resident brought up the topic of smart meters for electricity, relaying personal satisfaction with the technology and advocating for its benefits, including the detection of electrical problems and efficient management of electricity usage.

The meeting concluded with an acknowledgment of the borough employees’ and volunteers’ efforts, especially in preparation for the upcoming St. Patrick’s Day parade. Additionally, the council discussed new business openings, updates from the Belmar Housing Authority, and the public library, and highlighted an Easter egg hunt and a fundraiser for the skate park.

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.
Gerald Buccafusco
City Council Officials:
Mark Levis, Maria Rondinaro, Caitlin Donovan, Dr. Jodi Kinney

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