UPDATE: Seaside Park, South Seaside Park Access Shut Down For Tuesday; Other Towns Still Waiting
Access plans changing by the minute
UPDATE, 3 p.m. Monday: Tuesday's access to South Seaside Park for Berkeley residents has been canceled, according to a notice posted on the Berkeley Township Police Department's Facebook page at 2:30 p.m.:
"As of now there will be no further entry to South Seaside Park or Pelican Island," the statement reads. "We are working hard with our state agencies, to include the Department of Transportation who control the roadways, to ensure a safe and orderly return in the future. We are are currently assessing the situation but as of now access for tomorrow will NOT occur. Please check back for further updates."
Seaside Park's borough website had the following notice at 3 p.m.: "As of this date, the State of New Jersey has deemed the roads on the Barrier Island unsafe. No access will be granted to Seaside Park Tomorrow. Updates will be posted here as soon as they are available."
Seaside Heights residents are meeting tonight at 7 at the Holiday Inn on Route 37 in Toms River, according to several reports. It is unclear whether Seaside Heights officials will be present, however. The borough's website has the following announcement, dated today: "We truly apologize for any bad information out there, but sadly Seaside Heights remains closed to anyone but essential personnel. We will have a plan by Wednesday (Nov. 7th) night that should allow limited access by this Friday (Nov. 9th). Take care and sorry for all of our losses."
Toms River officials posted the following on the township's website this afternoon: "Mayor Kelaher and Chief Mastronardy attended a meeting this morning with the NJ Department of Transportation, Lavallette, Brick and Seaside Heights authorities. The DOT has declared that the roadways on the barrier island North of Seaside Heights are unsafe. They have found over 22 sinkholes, some being as much as 8 feet deep. The DOT is aggressively attempting to stabilize the situation. The pending Nor'Easter is of great concern and it is unsure how it may affect their progress. This situation will directly impact the development of any type of public access to the Island.
Ortley Beach is known as Ground Zero. This area was affected by the storm more than the neighboring towns."
Lavallette officials released the following statement, according to the Ocean County Police Blotter Facebook page: "It is our understanding that the Borough of Seaside Park and South Seaside Park have started to allow residential access to their property owners. It is imperative that you know that we are working as hard as we can to allow our residents the same access rights.
"You should understand, however, that the damage incurred in those municipalities, and God bless them, is not as extensive as the damage that was incurred to Ortley Beach, Lavallette, the Toms River Beaches and the Brick Beaches. We are dealing with collapsed roadways, down utility poles and wires, in places there are still three to five feet of sand on the roadway surface. We have a number of roads where the asphalt has been completed sheered and has traveled as far as the Barnegat Bay. There are a number of locations along Bay Boulevard where the roadway has eroded and has fallen into the Barnegat Bay. Most all of the homes on the oceanfront from Philadelphia Avenue to the south have been damaged to the point where safe access is just not permittable.
"We ask that you please remain patient. We are working on the plan that will start to allow you safe access to your property, possibly as quickly as tomorrow."
Previously: The Berkeley Township Police Department said South Seaside Park residents will be granted access to their homes Monday and Tuesday to retrieve belongings, subject to specific rules, according to a press release on its Facebook page Sunday evening.
For residents of other barrier island towns -- Lavallette, Toms River, Seaside Heights and Seaside Park -- plans are still being formulated, Toms River Police Chief Michael Mastronardy said.
"The damage to the north, in places like Ortley Beach, was more extensive," Mastronardy said, with breaches of the island that did not happen in South Seaside Park.
More information on those areas was expected to be available tomorrow, Mastronardy said. The Berkeley PD statement is as follows:
The State OEM has permitted BTPD to allow our residents over to the barrier island to obtain personal items. The following rules will be strictly enforced. This permission was not granted easily. We need all residents to cooperate.
Rules: South Seaside Park
1. Registration starts at 9 a.m. at Berkeley Township Town Hall (Town Hall is located at 627 Pinewald Keswick Road, about a mile west of Double Trouble State Park and the Garden State Parkway)
2. You will be required to bring proof of residency or rental (i.e. tax bill, utility bill, license with name and address). This will be confirmed with the tax records.
3. You will be issued a permit to get past the road blocks at the bridge. The permit must remain in the vehicle windshield.
4. You must be off the barrier island by 3pm on both days!!!!!
5. This permit is only good for Monday November 5, 2012
9:30 a.m.-3 p.m. and Tuesday November 6, 2012 8 a.m.-3 p.m. NO EXCEPTIONS!
6. Each residence is only permitted one passenger vehicle or pick-up truck. You will be permitted to exit and re-enter to gather your belongs during the designated hours. You will not be permitted to cross the bridge after 3 p.m. It cannot be a box truck or tractor trailer. Small trailers acceptable up to 16 feet.
7. You are restricted to your property ONLY. NOBODY will be permitted to sightsee. We have to ensure the security of our residents. State Police will be patrolling during the stated hours.
8. Your cooperation now will greatly impact any of these types of efforts in the future. We will make accommodations to get you along with your insurance adjustors and contractors to winterize your homes in the future.
9. FEMA representatives stated that they are trying to man a post in Seaside Park Police Department. This is not a definite.
1. Due to the extent of damage on Pelican Island we need to get the Township Construction Officials to assess and authorize reentry.
2. We are working as fast and diligently as possible to allow our residence access to their homes.
3. Monitor the Berkeley Township Police Facebook along with the Township website. If we get clearance we will post it and allow you, with a permit to access Pelican Island. We understand your frustration. Please be patient!!
NOTE: Patch is trying to get information on Lavallette, Ortley Beach, Seaside Heights and Seaside Park on this situation. This story will be updated as the information becomes available.