On the 17th Highlands Council Meeting, during the public portion section. It was asked if all the council were up to date on their Highlands Sewer Bills and stated if they were not, it wasn’t right. Especially after Sandy when so many people were displaced and still required to pay Sewer bills for properties that were not habitable.
Previously, it was indicated that there was no way the town could waive any sewer fees because our I&I was the same, and the town’s bill had to be paid.
So doesn’t it seem unreasonable that if the town “must” pay their “town” sewer bill, and regular Joe residents must pay “their” bills, that the individual council members must pay “their” bills.
BTW – you can now pay your bill online. Makes it even easier..
The Iron Girl sprint triathlon and 5K coming to Sandy Hook, NJ on September 13th, 2015. Set on the scenic grounds of Gateway National Recreation area, amenities include: a post-race café, performance shirts sized for women, professional timing, personalized race bibs, new custom finisher medals, and much more.
Registration is now open CLICK HERE for the sprint triathlon and 5K. Relay team options are also available for the triathlon. They created the discount code TRYIG15 for Highlands to share.
The code is good for 10% off any registration category.
CANCELLED DUE TO LACK OF QUORUM
1) The Hi-Rise is Back – Public portion on whether to allow 10 story buildings on the hill takes place Wednesday Night.
2) No Smoking Ordinance, to make it safe for everyone, Highlands is proposed going smoke free at all Borough Properties including the maintenance yard, all Highlands beaches, all parks, & the VFW.
The Borough of Highlands will conduct workshop and public meetings regarding the Masterplan of Highlands on the following dates: June 1 – cancelled, 8, 29, 2015. July 20, 2015. August 10, 31, 2015. September 21, 2015. October 5, 19, 2015. November 9, 23, 2015. December 7, 2015.
The meetings start at 7:30 PM and take place at the Borough Fire House located at 17-1 Shore Drive, Highlands, NJ 07732. The public is invited to attend all of these meetings however the public will only be allowed to participate and give testimony and submit documents at some of these meetings.
Apparently someone did though.
In January of this year, the owner Kim Ramin went through the proper channels with the town to get a container that resides on her property and was using for some storage as she was getting her new place together.
You can see the permit here:
Note the container removal date is “TBD” – To be determined, meaning no fixed date of when it has to be off premises.
Then on May 6th, we have a council meeting where the building owner, Katie Reed requested that the abandoned properties around her house and around Highlands be addressed. You can see her addressing the issue here:
Then, and here’s the weird part, the next day May 7th, her tenant, Kim Ramin, is issued a summons for illegally having a container on her property – and its mailed (not brought over, but mailed).
So this week she receives the summons that states she has a June 2nd court date for a container she has a permit for and if she doesn’t remove it by *this* Saturday (which is Memorial Day weekend) she will be fined everyday until it’s removed.
Kim called Hecht the container company and surprisingly they couldn’t schedule a pick up within 3 days. She did go and schedule one which unfortunately can’t be until June 14th.
In last night’s council meeting, this was brought up and our town administrator said he knew about it and our code enforcement officer was responding to a complaint about the container.
To which Ms. Reed responded, how is it possible that I’ve been complaining about the same properties for 2 years and not a summons was issued, but “someone” complains about “my” property and a summons was issued within 2 weeks, AND my tenant has a permit? You can listen to the comments here
Welcome to Highlands et al!
In case you forgot, this was the vote from September 2013:
The one above, has been like that since before Sandy and Irene. At one point last year, someone posted a sign with a picture asking the owner “Be a good neighbor“.
If you have concerns or questions on the Highlands Budget, tonight (Highlands Elementary School 8 pm) you should show up and ask questions on how the budget was constructed and what it means to future tax hikes in Highlands.
Questions to ask:
How much were they able to cut this year?
Is the $800k for the rec center repairs included?
Where is the repair/relocation of the borough trailers and PD in the budget?
Does the insurance cover Flood insurance?
Do the PD absolutely need raises?
What exactly is “Other”?
How much is this budget going to raise “my taxes”?
What Revenue Generation plans are there in 2015 that can offset the costs?
What Revenue Generation plans are there in 2016 that can offset the costs?
“add your questions here”
Much like the lottery, you have to be in it to win it, you have to show up and ask questions, otherwise the council will assume you don’t care and are totally okay with another tax hike.
In July of 2014, Highlands was one of six towns to be awarded monies to cover the costs of razing Sandy-damaged buildings through the Unsafe Structure Demolition Program. To date there doesn’t seem to be may homes that have been razed.
There is an argument that you may lose rateables if you demolish properties, the structures can’t be worth that much, the land retains its value. Plus, you bring down the value of the surrounding homes that are close in proximity to abandon homes.
According to Moneytips one in 10 Americans want to move. Poor neighborhood is one of the top reasons for wanting to move. While living in next to abandoned properties might make you want to move, it also makes it harder to sell your house. The term now for abandoned homes is “Zombie homes.”
1. T&M spoke about their work with FEMA and what was needed to start the work to repair the community center. They estimate the cost to just repair and waterproof the building back to its pre-Sandy condition to be $800k, which they believe Highlands should be reimbursed up to 90% by FEMA. Side note, in Oct 2013, the costs to rebuild and waterproof the community center was quoted at $300k.
2. Tom Smith was voted in as Highlands new municipal Judge. Mr. Smith is a past president of the Monmouth Bar Association, former municipal prosecutor and the current public defender in Highlands as well as two other New Jersey municipalities. Side note: there is now a resolution requisitioning a new Public Defender R-15-095
3. New Parking Rules are now on Portland Road. 0-15-16 was passed that amends Section 7-3.4, to allow parking on Portland Road between Highland Avenue and Hillside Avenue, with the exception of parking ten (10) feet from a fire hydrant, twenty-five (25) feet from an intersection and fifty (50) feet from a stop sign. Further, it prohibits parking on Portland Road at all times in those areas not designated above, with the exception of the east side of Portland Road at the area one hundred and twenty-four (124) feet south of the utility pole identified as BT40103hb to forty (40) feet north of the utility pole identified as B7224;
4. Nancy O’Neil submitted her resignation from the construction office and it was accepted. The town is actively looking for a P/T replacement. Not being able to backfill the position immediately could slow down the permitting process for those residents trying to lift this spring/summer. Interested applicants should submit an application and resume to the Borough Hall located at 42 Shore Drive, Highlands.
5. Speaking of procrastination, the council tabled the following to a future date: “R-15-91″ A Resolution Authorizing RFP’s for Website Design & Hosting Services, “0-15-15″ an Ordinance Prohibiting Certain Animals, “0-15-13″ an Ordinance to Exceed Budget Appropriation Limits, and the rewording of “R-14-220″ which requires disclaimers from all employees, agents, volunteers when posting on the Highlands NJ Facebook page as well as all other Social Media.
These are only 5 of the items discussed in April 1st council meeting. To view the whole meeting, please view online.
The Highlands Pancake is house is set to reopen, and as such, the Highlands Council is set to offer a new resolution about possible future communication taking place in the Highlands Pancake House. Their fear is, they may receive of 3 to 4 hours a day of phone calls to the Borough from residents overhearing conversations from other diners in the Highlands Pancake House about what is going on in Highlands and want clarification on what is official communications from the Borough of Highlands. Simply, they just want to mitigate the fact that residents might confuse the Highlands Pancake house with an Official Highlands Communications outlet. So if residents are in the Highlands Pancake House eating breakfast and overhear conversations from elected officials, employees or volunteers, that unless those folks specifically state otherwise, those conversations might be somehow interpreted as “official communications” from the Borough of Highlands.
The proposed resolution shall read:
BOROUGH OF HIGHLANDS
COUNTY OF MONMOUTH
A Resolution Concerning “The Highlands Pancake House”, And any conversations Therein, Or, In Any Breakfast Establishment within the Borough of Highlands, N.J., By Elected Officials Of The Borough Of Highlands As Well As, Other Officials, Employees, Agents, Representatives And Volunteers,
WHEREAS, the restaurant “Highlands Pancake House” has been established on Bay Avenue in Highlands, NJ, and, as of the date of preparing this Resolution, has had thousands of local Highlands patrons; and
WHEREAS, elected and other officials of the Borough could be approached by residents and employees concerning information overheard therein said restaurant which may not true nor accurate; and
WHEREAS, as a result, it is necessary to clarify that the “Highlands Pancake House” is not an official media outlet of the Borough of Highlands; and
WHEREAS, the governing body recognizes that individuals possess a First Amendment right to comment and converse in any restaurant; and
WHEREAS, the governing body further deems that it is necessary to adopt protocols for its elected officials, other officials, employees, representatives and volunteers, so that statements overheard in any restaurant by those individuals are not misinterpreted as official statements of the Borough of Highlands; and
BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED that any elected Borough official, or other Borough official, employee, agent, representative or volunteer, including appointees to boards, commissions, committees and or subcommittees, who wishes to speak within the “Highlands Pancake House” over breakfast, lunch or any other meal, as well as, in any other similar breakfast establishments, which are currently established or may be in the future established, shall state out loud, before speaking that any comment, conversation or statement from that individual is a statement, comment or conversation of that individual only and does not represent an official statement, comment or communication on behalf of the Borough of Highlands.
When speaking to residents over the proposed new resolution, the reaction was mixed. One stated they felt it was “a violation of [their] right to free speech, and [they] should not have to preface breakfast conversation with a disclaimer, stating what [they are] about to say is not an official Borough statement.”
Another resident did not feel the resolution was infringing at all, stating, “I mean really, if they [the restaurant owners] just changed the name of the restaurant to something besides ‘Highlands’ pancake house this actually wouldn’t be an issue.”
The above post is an April Fool’s Day post. The Highlands Pancake House is not opening in the near future, the Highlands Council is not planning on introducing a resolution against speaking in breakfast establishments without disclaimers .. (yet). And no residents were interviewed for the comments about the fictitious resolution.