5 Things From The Highlands 8/20 Council Meeting

5There are MANY things going on in town. The following are just 5 Highlights, to see everything you’re going to have to watch the video:

To view the full meeting click here:


I.  R – 14 – 145/146 Declarations of Clam Purification Appointments (All the terms ended May 31) Before assigning new appointees, the CP committee was supposed to provide a report. Which they to date have not. So technically there isn’t a full committee but they need a report from the full committee in order to re-appoint certain members of the committee.   For those that didn’t realize, the Borough of Highlands actually “owns” the clam purification plant in town and receives rent from the business that is there. Although, the lease was written a long time ago and very inexpensive. It was up for renewal in 2015. Whether it auto-renews at the same rate or we renegotiated the rental receivables is still up in the air because “we don’t have a report from the clam purification committee.”  And to be fair most of our committees don’t seem to meet regularly.  – End all be all , council pushed this back until September meeting.  I personally would rather see action than inaction here, there is potential increase in rental revenue at stake.  Even more irritating, there were 2 members of the Clam Purification Committee at the council meeting. (Francy & Nolan) No excuses on why no meetings and why no report and what the heck is going on.

II.  Finance Report (From CFO) An audit started last week & constant Reviewing of the Budget is occurring, preparing for delinquent 2013 taxes, CFO recommended considering online tax sale to save money. The 3/4 qtr sewer bills were mailed out and they were due on Aug 11 with a 30 day grace period.

III.   Bonding capacity is limited to 3 1/2% of the net town evaluation (What the town is worth), Right now we’re at capacity and we have $ 2 1/2 million away from our cap. The real concern (according to the new CFO, you know one of the highest paid NJ employee) is any new projects, i.e. new municipal building, a new police station, repairing the current crappy sewer system, repairing the community center, add any other project here could put us over our cap.  What is a bond, its kind of like a credit card and our limit is based on what the town is worth. So based on everything we’ve borrowed, we’re almost at our limit with only $2 1/2 million to spare.  (If this doesn’t scare you, it should)  Our CFO suggests that we need to re prioritize our projects. (You can listen to 35 min to 45 min mark)

IV.    Two Minute Rule was discussed in executive session, the following points were brought up there-

   a) There have been times were they go around the room more than once asking for public input. (Of course this was before they put the 2 min rule in play.)

   b) Sometimes in the past it was just informal and people just spoke out.

   c) Maybe if its less people, letting speaking longer is an option and if there is a ton of people the 2 minute rule will take effect.

       Net/net – the lawyer needs to do some investigation and they pushed off until September to make any decisions. (Shocker) Oh and by the way *we* as in the town tax payers have to pay for him to do this research. This should be a no brainer and a decision made, then move on. If you ask why? Look at point #3.

V. Also in the public portion it was brought up about the APP.com article stipulating that under current policy that predates Sandy, FEMA will credit disaster-stricken communities for the free labor that volunteer firefighters, first aid squad members as well as private individuals and volunteer groups provided, and for other “donated resources,” such as free meals, bottled water and cleaning supplies. Highlands has yet to collect the hours or a donated resource list or started the paperwork.

According to the council, “we have not missed out on this yet”, however, it wasn’t explained when the drop dead date for the application actually is and why this information needed to be submitted was not collected yet.

Highlands Business Partnership Report

At the first council meeting each month, time is allotted for committee reports. In the interest of streamlining the meetings some reports are written and submitted and are part of the agenda pack.  For the August 20th meeting Carla Cefalo-Braswell, president of the HBP, submitted her written report (see below).

What surprised me and others is that there is no update on any new businesses in town.  You wouldn’t know it from the report, but there is quite a bit happening in town.  I know I’m pretty excited to see new businesses open.  What’s there to be excited about, you ask?

  • We have a new peddler in town, Penelope Traveling Boutique.  Check her Facebook page for times and locations as well as photos of just a few of the items she is currently carrying.  https://www.facebook.com/PenelopeNJ
  • Et Al is opening on the corner of Shore and Waterwitch, in the former SandWitch Shop space.  They have a Rumson location and will be doing prepared foods to-go.  I spoke with them briefly at Clam Fest and they will be open early so you can grab lunch on your way to work.  Both locations are closed temporarily so they can focus on the build-out of the Highlands location.  Like their Facebook page for updates on their progress and to drool over the food porn.  https://www.facebook.com/pages/Et-al-fine-food-events/149926191733572?sk=timeline
  • Sand Bar is working hard to open at the former Clam Hut location.  While the summer season is almost over we hope there is plenty of warm weather left to enjoy the waterfront location.  They don’t seem to have an internet presence just yet but here is a link to the recent blog post on their progress.  http://highlandsblog.me/2014/08/20/progress-where-clam-hut-was/
  • As mentioned on this blog, the Highlands Pancake House is renovating and reopening as Mangia Mangia Pizza & Restaurant.  http://highlandsblog.me/2014/08/04/mangia-mangia-pizza-coming-to-highlands/
  • The construction of the new CVS is moving right along.  The structure is going up.  I have heard they’re hoping for a late 2014/early 2015 opening.  Let’s hope it’s sooner rather than later.


Progress where Clam Hut was

Clam Hut NewBack in June 2014, I did a post on how a new restaurant was trying to open where the Clam Hut was.

Although they were trying to open in the summer season 2014, and now the season is almost over, they are making progress.

Take a walk down Atlantic Street or take a notice if you go by on a boat.


Two River Times Highlights Borough Trailers

borough trailerThis week The Two River Times did an article on Highlands again. Specifically on how Highlands Borough and PD is still being run out of Trailers.

“We’re not closing the door on any options” said Borough Administrator Tim Hill, who hopes to have a more definitive direction by next month.”

Options they are considering include:

  • Demolishing and rebuilding 171 Bay Ave
  • Repairing and refurbishing 171 Bay Ave
  • Seeking another location entirely

Gee nothing has changed since the storm.

“The council hasn’t spoken publicly about which option it prefers at this point,”

I think I remember they had a meeting at Ptak where they spoke about options and them leaning towards building a brandy new facility.  Anybody else? I did a follow up post about it.

To read the full TRT article click here


Guest Blogger Carolyn Broullon: NJ Future Wants to Hear from You

NJ Future logoNJ Future has teamed up with a research scientist from Carnegie Mellon University to support Highlands in our effort to develop a long-term resiliency plan.  One part of this support involves reaching out to and engaging with the public to talk about flooding risk and plausible solutions. To that end, they developed a short survey to understand how best to talk about these issues with community members.

Please help our community in its plan for recovery and resiliency:
This 10-15 minute survey will ask about your beliefs on flooding and flooding risk.  Your answers will help Highlands and NJ Future make plans for long-term community resiliency.  In a few months, you will receive a summary of the answers given by the community.

Here is the link to the survey:


Your participation is greatly appreciated!

Bahrs Participating in Shore Chef Crab Cake Cook-Off

crab cakeThis Saturday and Sunday, between 12 – 5, Highlands restaurant Bahrs Landing is competing for the best crab cake award and the coveted People’s Choice Award in the Crab Cake Cook-Off at Monmouth Park.

Other contestants include: Bacon On Wheels, Chimney Cake Factory, Chip Stix, Coney Waffle, Enzo’s, Four Boys Concessions, Harvest Specialty, Ike’s Famous Crabcakes, Jersey Shore BBQ, Kona Ice, Station 1 Seafood, Two Sons Savannah Style Seafood, WD Cakes & Steaks, Red Hook Lobster, and Waffle de Lys.

To see the MENU Click here

If the competition was just done in Highlands, who has the best crab cakes?

Results of Twin Lights 5k

Yesterday’s first (hopefully annual) 5k race starting and ending at Twin Light Light house brought out over 100 + runners. The top runners were:

Full Results can be seen here:

Categroy 1st 2nd 3rd
Female under 16 Corina Vidal, Atlantic Highlands Delaney Chenoweth, Port Monmouth Olivia Williams, Chester
Female over 16 Stephanie Lasner, New Ciry, NY Melissa Fariello, Atlantic Highlands Heather Schlisserman, Tinton Falls
Male under 16 Avery Templo, Old Bridge Thomas Waggner, Red Bank
Male over 16 Mike Mooney, Jackson Matt Hanley, Ridgewood Justin Cabinian, Atlantic Highlands

Highlands PD Cracking down on DWI

dwi cops highlandsLaw enforcement officers from Highlands Police will be cracking down on drunk drivers as part of the 2014 Labor Day “Drive Sober or Get Pulled Over” campaign.  BeginningAugust 15 and running through September 1, local and state law enforcement officers will conduct sobriety checkpoints and roving patrols, looking for motorists who may be driving while intoxicated.

“Drive Sober or Get Pulled Over” is a national campaign designed to raise awareness about the dangers of drinking and driving through high-visibility enforcement and public education tools, including posters, banners and mobile video display signs. Launched across the U.S. in 1999, the program works to combat drunk driving during the busy summer travel season, including the Labor Day holiday period.

“More than 10,000 people are killed in the United States each year in alcohol-impaired driving crashes. Drunk driving is reckless and preventable,” said Gary Poedubicky, Acting Director of the Division of Highway Traffic Safety.  “During this campaign police agencies in New Jersey will be sending a clear message. If drivers are caught driving impaired they will be arrested.”

In 2013 alcohol-impaired fatalities accounted for 22 percent of New Jersey’s motor vehicle fatalities. As part of the initiative, the Division of Highway Traffic Safety provides grants to local law enforcement agencies throughout the state to run the two-week campaign.

Law enforcement agencies participating in the Drive Sober or Get Pulled Over 2014 crackdown offer the following advice:

  • If you plan to drink, designate a driver, someone who will not drink alcohol, before going out.
  • Take mass transit, a taxi or ask a sober friend to drive you home.
  • Spend the night where the activity is held.
  • Report impaired drivers to law enforcement.  In New Jersey, drivers may dial #77 to report a drunk or aggressive driver.
  • Always buckle up, every ride, regardless of your seating position in the vehicle.  It’s your best defense against an impaired driver.
  • If you’re intoxicated and traveling on foot, the safest way to get home is to take a cab or have a sober friend or family member drive you to your doorstep

Highlands’ Clamfest Causes Accident Rt 36

People rushing to get to Clamfest on the last day cause accident on rt 36. There were no reported injuries and there are still clams and lobster rolls available.



Highlands Pizza Place Featured in Asbury Park Press

Superstorm Sandy in October 2012 was the fourth hurricane that Giorgio Migliaccio, owner of, had suffered through since opening his business in 1984. And this time, he would need a lot of help to recover.

There was six and a half feet of water in this place, Migliaccio said. It was total destruction.

It was not long before customers and employees flocked to the restaurant and offered a hand to repair the damage. Many of them cleaned, painted and gave moral support to Migliaccio in a time of desperation. By March 2013, he was able to reopen.  To Read the whole story Click Here

Aug 2014 = Proxigean Spring Tide in Highlands

August 10th is The Proxigean Spring Tide in Highlands. This is a rare, unusually high tide. This very high tide occurs when the moon is both unusually close to the Earth and normally occurs every 1.5 years.

Here’s the following schedule for the next Proxigean tides:

10 August 2014 Full
28 September 2015 Full
14 November 2016 Full
25 May 2017 New
2 January 2018 Full
13 July 2018 New
30 August 2019 New
16 October 2020 New
4 December 2021 New
21 January 2023 New

Highlands discussed in Senate Hearing

sen menendezSenator Menendez testified on behalf of NJ residents receiving egregious Insurance Bills..

“While homeowners across the country are already seeing relief, for some, that relief has not yet come. Unfortunately, I’m still hearing stories of egregious and unreasonable rate hikes in New Jersey.

Take the case of one of my constituents, Claudette, from Highlands, New Jersey. Before Sandy destroyed her house, she had been paying around $2,500 a year in premiums. When she began rebuilding, she followed all the rules–built not just up to code, but above and beyond the required standards…But, despite doing the right thing–following all the rules–her premium skyrocketed from $2,500 to $34,000. Think about that for a minute… $34,000 a year for flood insurance… Almost $350,000 over ten years. This simply does not pass the smell test.
Fortunately, my office worked with FEMA to reduce Claudette’s premium to $7,700, but it is still far too high…And I will continue to work to see that Claudette gets the relief she deserves.
I also heard from Rick from Union Beach, New Jersey –who saw his rates increase 50-fold from $550 to $30,000.Rick’s case is similar to Claudette’s. He too rebuilt his house above the required standards–3 feet above, in fact, but is still being charged prohibitively expensive premiums based on the old, inaccurate maps.
My office is also working with FEMA to fix Rick’s egregious rate increase–and I hope FEMA will use its administrative discretion to help make this right. I find it puzzling, after working so hard to pass a law that specifically caps rate increases and encourages FEMA to strive to keep flood insurance affordable, that we are still hearing about outrageous increases that threaten to do more economic damage to families than the storm itself.”
To hear the whole hearing on how this affects not only NJ residents but residents all over the country click here:
There are 540 counties out of 3144 counties nationwide that will be affected by the Biggert Waters Act.

Why Signing the Petition for Amending R-14-161 is important to Highlands

On June 18th, Mayor Nolan introduced R-14-161, which limits resident speaking time to 2 minutes. Further, it instructs the Governing body members to not respond to the questions of the resident until that resident has finished speaking in his/her entirety. There was a subsequent blog post here.

Overwhelmingly, residents polled were against the time limitation. Some concerns brought up about the resolution included not only the content but the way it was introduced:

  • it was not printed as an agenda item made publicly available on our town website previous to the meeting,
  • it was not attached on the meeting packet handouts left outside the meeting room for the public to read during the hour the Council was in closed session,
  • it was placed on the table next to the public comment sign-in sheet – which many of those attending did not realize was supposed to be part of the agenda.

The resolution in question was pushed through within 15 minutes of the start of the public session with no explanation or comment period. Even at the public comment portion at the end of the meeting when residents verbalized their disagreement of the approved resolution it was basically ignored. (So much for working with the council or having your opinions matter.)

There now is an online petition at Change.org that asks for support not to abolish the ordinance but to amend it to increase the speaking time from 2 min to 4 min as a reasonable alternative to this tactic of retribution by the council.

How does it work? You go to the Change.org page and sign in, name email address and why you agree with amending the existing ordinance.


Each person that signs it a notification goes to the petitioners. In this case its Mayor Nolan, Tim Hill and Carolyn Cummins. On the right hand side it will show recent signatures and below the petition it shows the reasons people are signing.

changeorg.2Why online petitions can work: Governments, companies and individuals normally value their reputations and feel accountable to their neighbors, constituents and customers. When hundreds or even thousands of people raise their voices about an issue they care about, the message is very hard to ignore.

According to Change.org, Successful petitions ask for something very specific, that a decision maker can change. They usually propose a sensible solution to a problem. i.e. a compromise to an existing ordinance asking it to be amended.

If you haven’t already signed, please click here



Dog Friendly Places in Highlands 2014

puppyBack in 2010, I did a post on dog friendly places in Highlands. At the time there were a few:


Waterwitch Coffee – still is

Chilangos – They used to be when he had an outside patio, but he enclosed it, so I don’t think he is anymore

Bay Ave Bakery – wasn’t there then, but is now… dog bowls and treats available

Seascape Manor B&B – allows two dog under 40 lbs for a fee of $25 per stay.


Dawg House – No More

Beacon on the Bay – No More

Clamhut – Was, but is no more


Some are no more because of Sandy, Dawg House got moved for the new Quickchek.

Sandy Hook is dog friendly on the bay side during the summer and on both sides Labor day through March.

The Pet industry is a  $58 billion (that’s right BILLION) dollar business.

Seastreak dogs/cats ride free.  We could capitalize on being a dog friendly town and attract more tourists that want to travel with their pets.

If anyone knows of any other pet friendly businesses in town, let me know and I’ll add to the list and market for them.