City Council took a number of steps at the Feb. 7 meeting toward the city's goal of reducing nuisance flooding on the island.
The Flood Damage Prevention chapter of the city code was amended to include a new Federal Emergency Management Agency designation called Coastal A Zones.
FEMA defines Coastal A Zones as locations that are landward of areas where wave height is less than 3 feet that may be subject to wave effects, fast-flowing water and erosion.
The construction office had already amended its code to adopt the construction standards that Coastal A Zones require in 2017. The city code was updated to be consistent with those changes, according to city engineer Edward Stinson.
“Mr. Stinson is our engineer and has been working with his committee to continually add mitigation types of projects and resiliency throughout the city of Brigantine to increase our discount on our flood insurance rates, so this moves us closer to attaining the next level, which will give the city an even greater discount,” Mayor Philip Guenther said.
The city also amended its bid specifications for the proposed construction of stormwater pumping stations at Hackney Place, Jenkins Parkway and 34th Street South for a third time.
Council has twice rejected bids that were considered too far over budget.
Roberts Engineering Group LLC was awarded a $74,000 contract in 2015 for design, permitting and other work related to the three pump stations. The contract was later amended to $86,000.
Council passed a resolution Wednesday authorizing Roberts to be paid an additional $36,500 to revise the plans and specifications to conform with additional DEP requirements, for additional advertising necessitated by the rejection of bids, and for scope modifications to bring bids into budget, for a total of $122,500.
The pump stations project will be funded by a $1.4 million grant from the state Department of Environmental Protection.
Stinson said they are close to opening the project for bids, but warned council that the grant funding may still not be enough.
“I do anticipate that even with the revisions to the scope that the project is likely becoming greater than the grant. I would recommend that council consider being prepared to do a bond movement to supplement it,” he said.
In addition to getting the project ready to go out for its third round of bids, council authorized the Coastal Research Center at Stockton University to conduct a yearlong "nuisance flood study” of the city.
The center was awarded a $19,968 contract to monitor areas the city has identified as frequently flooding.
Stinson said the study will also benefit the water pump stations project.
“I find any time you can collect data over time is really valuable,” Stinson said.
The data will show where the city's flood vulnerabilities are and what factors influence that vulnerability, he said.
Stinson said there will be a public meeting with the DEP to discuss the management of the north-end beaches 6 p.m. Tuesday, Feb. 27, in the North Middle School auditorium.
The DEP is taking over management of the area to help protect endangered shorebirds, according to its website.
The DEP is restricting four-wheel-drive access to recreation related to fishing only, and only to those who purchase its new mobile sport fishing permit. The fee is $50 for New Jersey residents and $75 for out-of-state residents.
“Once again, it’s very important that people come and express their views on this issue," Geuther said.
"All of us on City Council have had individuals speak to us, but I think it’s very important the DEP hear the concerns of the residents and visitors of Brigantine regarding the changes at the north end natural area,” he said.
In other business, council voted to remove parking restrictions on both sides of the 4400 block of Magnolia Way.
They also authorized the Fire Department to submit a grant application to FEMA for money to replace an 18-year-old ladder truck.
Fire Chief Tige Platt said the department had to spend 20 percent of its entire budget to repair the truck when it went out of commission for three months.
Councilwoman Karen Bew suggested that a one-block city street be renamed in light of the Philadelphia Eagles Super Bowl victory. She said her constituents in the 1st Ward proposed renaming Brady’s Place to Foles’ Place, after the winning team’s quarterback, Nick Foles.
Council members found the suggestion humorous, and said they could look into it.
“With the Eagles winning that championship, it really galvanizes the whole area," Councilman Dennis Haney said.
"We see so many hardships and bad things sometimes, but sports really transcends political beliefs, socioeconomic things, race, color, creed — whatever you want to call it — and it’s really good throughout this whole area to see the love and good feeling going on out there,” he said.
Five of the seven students from the Brigantine North School Choir who made All South Jersey Choir commenced the meeting by singing the national anthem.
The council recognized and congratulated students Nico Eafrat, Olivia Heng, Kairo Herber, Molly Hoffman, John McGuire, Deklyn Passerini and Rebecca Prince for making the choir. They also congratulated music teacher John Reed for having the largest group of students to make the chorus in the choir’s history.
Council’s next meeting is scheduled for 6 p.m. Wednesday, Feb. 21 at City Hall.