Somers Point Council Contemplates Street Vacations Amidst Public Debate

Somers Point City Council’s recent meeting addressed a range of issues, including the potential vacation of parts of West Maryland Avenue and Oak Lane, modifications to parking regulations, and the adoption of ordinances related to littering and stormwater control. The discussions were intense and multifaceted, with public interest and participation.

The most contentious topic was the proposed vacation of a portion of Oak Lane. The debate centered on the opposition from a local property owner, Mr. Rocco, who was adamant about not selling his property and preserving the environmental integrity of the area. He highlighted the necessity of adhering to New Jersey’s environmental laws and retaining half of the road. The council, considering Mr. Rocco’s concerns and the historical agreements with original property owners, decided to table the ordinance related to the vacation of Oak Lane.

In a similarly complex discussion, the council considered the vacation of an unimproved paper street portion of West Maryland Avenue, as requested by Michael Lario on behalf of West Maryland LLC. The developer emphasized the need for vacating the street for a more cohesive commercial development, which had already received zoning board approval for use variance and site plan. Although the fence replacement in a critical habitat area was brought up, it was clarified that it would be addressed in a future request.

Additionally, the council tackled parking challenges within the city by adopting two ordinances. The first set regulations for parking around the municipal sanitary sewer pump station, and the second established a restricted parking zone in front of a residence. Notably, the council included a provision for fee waivers for disabled veterans seeking parking privileges.

The council also focused on infrastructure, debating the construction, ownership, and maintenance of a new street. After thorough deliberation and an amendment based on the city engineer’s statement, the council adopted the relevant ordinance.

Further, the council introduced Ordinance Number 8, targeting littering and property maintenance, and Ordinance Number 9, which addressed stormwater control. They also passed resolutions including one supporting New Jersey Senate and Assembly bills concerning canal refunds and acknowledging a memorandum of understanding with the neighboring city of Pleasantville.

In terms of public participation, individuals took the opportunity to voice their concerns on various topics. There was a discussion about a public safety issue at Rand Avenue and Maryland Avenue, and an announcement of an individual’s intention to run for president of the United States.

The meeting was not without its procedural complexities. There was confusion over the authority of the chairman of the environmental commission to represent the commission and debate over his voting record and potential conflicts of interest. The city attorney advised caution, and the council opted to proceed with caution.

Other business conducted included the awarding of bids for pump station force main replacements and the authorization of lease agreements for Marina operations and the PBY Avenue Pier. The financial aspect of the city’s operations was also considered, with a particular bill amounting to $44,134 discussed.

As the meeting progressed, the council went into an executive session, a standard procedure for discussing matters that require confidentiality.

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.
Jack Glasser
City Council Officials:
Janice Johnston, Joseph McCarrie, Sean McGuigan, Howard Dill, Richard DePamphilis, Mike Owen, Karen Bruno

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