The catastrophic damage in Bayville, Pelican Island and South Seaside Park during Superstorm Sandy could have been avoided if Island Beach State Park had an intact dune system, township officials say.
The Township Council passed a resolution at a special meeting last night calling on the state and the Army Corps of Engineers to include Island Beach in its dune restoration project.
"This is big," Township Council President James J. Byrnes said. "There are sections that are missing dunes that would impact the Bayville section."
Portions of South Seaside Park, Glen Cove, Good Luck Point and Toms River Shores were swamped by Sandy's storm surge on Oct. 29.
Some of the damage could have been avoided if dunes had been in place in certain areas of Island Beach, especially along Two-Bit Road in the northern section of the park, officials have said.
"...various Township officials and residents have witnessed the destruction caused to the Township due to the lack of dunes at Island Beach State Park," the resolution states.
The state has partnered with the Army Corps of Engineers in a storm damage reduction project from the Manasquan Inlet to the Barnegat Inlet. But Island Beach has been excluded from the plan, Mayor Carmen F. Amato Jr. said.
Council members also unanimously approved the introduction of an ordinance that grants easements to the state for all township-owned beaches in South Seaside Park for the dune project.
"The state is really pushing to get these easements approved and that's why we are pushing this tonight," Amato said.
Berkeley Township has been advised that the project will be 100 percent funded by state and federal resources.
Residents who own oceanfront property will be asked to sign dedication deeds and "perpetual storm damage reduction easements," so the dune project can begin without delay, Amato has said.
"The USACE project, once completed, will provide long-term stability and peace of mind to all of the residents on the barrier island," he said on the township website. "The time has long since past when property owners can ignore the ongoing threat from storms. The entire barrier island and bay front properties are at risk until this work is completed."