South Seaside Park and Pelican Island residents got an early Christmas present today when the county and state approved the re-population plan for both areas.
"I'm ecstatic," Mayor Carmen F. Amato Jr. said. "We did our due diligence to get to this point. We are thrilled we got approved. Our goal was to get our residents home for Christmas."
Residents in both areas can head over the Thomas A. Mathis bridge Thursday morning, beginning at 8 a.m., the mayor said.
Only residents with decals they received in earlier brief trips will be allowed to re-enter both areas, he said.
"Now with re-population, we will definitely get public works out there for Saturday and Monday, give people a chance to get their storm-related debris out," Amato said.
The plan - drafted by Police Chief Karin T. DiMichele - had to first be approved by the Ocean County Office of Emergency Management, then the State Office of Emergency Management, and finally by Gov. Chris Christie, the mayor has said.
Residents can only travel to and from their homes. Contractors, plumbers, electricians, inspectors and adjusters will be limited to travel to properties under construction, and only between 8 a.m. and 4 p.m., Amato said.
"We have had our engineering department review the infrastructure and they have deemed the roads safe," Amato said earlier this week. "Our sewerage authority has notified us the sewer system is operational. Shore Water Company has notified our engineering department the system is operational and the water is safe."
Township police, public works and the inspection department have been providing service to the areas since Superstorm Sandy and the fire and first aid companies are prepared for residents to return, the mayor said.