Letter: Please Gov. Christie; listen to Margate’s valid concerns

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Letter: Please Gov. Christie; listen to Margate’s valid concerns Letter: Please Gov. Christie; listen to Margate’s valid concerns The following is a copy of a letter addressed to New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie:

Take it from me, a 5-foot-1-inch woman who weighs about 100 pounds, one size does not fit all.

I ask you to read this appeal and consider the City of Margate’s need for protection and safety from flood waters. Our entire shoreline, ocean and bay, has bulkheads. Our beaches get wider every year, accumulating sand from beaches north of us (Atlantic City and Ventnor). Hurricane Sandy damage to our beachfront homes was minimal. Our damage was, as it always has been, from the bay. Sand dunes will do nothing to protect our lives and property. In essence they will probably destroy our economy and the life year-round residents (approximately 6,400) enjoy in our second-home community, which easily triples or quadruples during the summer months. 

The majority of the homes within three to four blocks of the beach are second homes to out-of-town owners, many from Pennsylvania. These summer residents, often paying $30,000 to $40,000 in property taxes each year, make it affordable and possible for middle-income people like me to raise a family and live here year-round. Our beautiful beaches keep our taxes low and property values high.

Is the loss of a view the reason why many beachfront owners oppose the dunes? Perhaps for some it may be, but the issue is moot because the need for dunes does not exist.  

With dunes the appeal of owning a home with an ocean view will be diminished, causing a domino effect on the value of other island properties. This, in conjunction with the failing casino industry, could mean “curtains” for our community. 

Our city is very progressive and dedicated to the safety of its residents. Do not insult us by claiming our “city officials’ refusal to take reasonable action to protect its citizens puts us in jeopardy.” We know what we need; we are not “stupid.” What we need is not dunes. Fortifying our bulkheads and building jetties is a very viable option. Installing piles of sand is not the answer. 

After reading about Wildwood’s unique situation of having too much sand clogging its outfall pipes, causing flooding in the streets and considerable maintenance expense to the city, I am further perplexed as to why the Army Corps of Engineers is so “tunnel-visioned” on dunes as the only solution. 

Wildwood Mayor Ernie Troiano Jr. said  he wants to sit down with the Army Corps to talk about the specifics, but initially he feels the plan won’t solve his community’s biggest beach-related problems.

“Fix my pipes and leave my sand alone,” Troiano said.

While North Wildwood loses sand during major storm events, Wildwood continues to gain beach, requiring the city’s nine outfall pipes to be maintained daily.

The growing beaches mean the city’s outfall pipes routinely clog with sand, sending flood waters into city streets, Pacific Avenue in particular.

“Wildwood has a persistent outfall maintenance problem due to the large influx of sand to the area,” a recent report notes.

The Public Works Department said when the outfalls are clogged, water rises  approximately 4 to 8 inches along Atlantic, Ocean and Pacific avenues in Wildwood. Daily maintenance costs add up to about $115,000 per year. 

Is this what we have to look forward to? Will the “dune project” be jammed down our throats, costing the taxpayers beach replenishment every three to four years, with flooding caused by clogged outfall pipes, and the taxpayers expected to pay for it? Please listen to the voice of the people (this is America) 65 percent of whom opposed the dunes in a city-wide vote. 

What fits you does not fit me; one size does not fit all.

Please, I am asking that you look at our situation in an intelligent way and not simply run rough-shod over our valid concerns.

Jane MacGrogan

Margate


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