ACE Notes from May 7th Meeting

They Army Corp of Engineers on March 12 announced the plan for the feasibility study for Highlands for Zone 2. It initially decided to break the town into 7 zones. The thought process is that instead of just putting up one type of wall, take the town in chunks and figure out if the proper mitigation is a wall or a berm depending on the topography and current coastline of each section.  The ACE people said regarding the meetings, that instead of doing each zone separately, they decided to do zones 3-7 in one meeting (hence the May 7th meeting) because of lack of response from the residents in the first meeting in March for Zone 2, which initiated grumbling with residents due to lack of communication when the meetings were happening or why ACE required feedback from residents. (There was a meeting held earlier for businesses that was also inadequately announced or communicated and had only sparse attendance as well.)

Note that the terms “wall,” bulkhead,” and “seawall” are used interchangeably but mean the same thing, a corrugated metal wall placed on the water side of the existing bulkhead or inland from the current beachfront.

Regarding the berm, it is 12 feet wide and 3 feet high. There will be walk-overs, but they won’t be able to be walked on. There would be planted sea grass. The smaller walls would be a 5 feet high and a foot wide. There would be walk-overs here as well, but you could put a beach chair on either side of the wall without issue.ace zones

Unit 1 – Paradise Park and adjacent property – This actually fell off the list due to the Navesink Shores doing their own mitigation project with the new development.

Unit 2- Willow to Snug Harbor – this area can have either a berm or small wall; both options are on the table, and they are looking for resident feedback in making the final decision.

Unit 3- Snug Harbor to Sea Drift – this is a a wall similar to what is there now and a two feet higher with a cement cap. On the Captain Cove, the bulkheads will be higher matching marine place and it also includes walk overs for the marina and viewing stairs to look over the wall. The new bulkhead will be placed, according to the current plan, on the water side of the current bulkhead and will effectively line the marina. This option was chosen as more cost-effective than a flood gate for the marina.

Unit 4- Sea Drift to Cedar – this area can have either a berm or small seawall; both options are on the table, and they are looking for resident feedback in making the final decision.

Unit 5- Cedar to Miller St – this area can have either a berm or small wall; both options are on the table, and they are looking for resident feedback in making the final decision.

Unit 6 – Miller Street to South Street (Shrewsbury Ave properties) – wall similar to Marine Place with cement cap.

Unit 7 – South Street to Bridge – this actually wasn’t discussed.

Its going to take approximately 2 years to do the feasibility study and approval from the town in order to move forward.

Some other highlights:

Funding is allocated by Congress; however, ACE won’t move forward until a) they finish the feasibility study and 2)they get the green light from town.

ACE would also re-evaluate pumps and determine whether they needed to be replaced or current pumps would be sufficient.

The cost is estimated at $55 million with 65% federal and 35% non-federal split. The town would be required to pay 9%. They also said there could be County Funding to assist with this.

The town (or at least the residents Tuesday night) didn’t seem to agree on whether it should be green-lighted.

Concerns included things like:

  • “this wouldn’t be a silver bullet to stop total flooding in Highlands,” it would keep most (note this is most and not completely) surge out also it wouldn’t not stop run-off from the hill
  • the amount of space the berms would take up,
  • the height of the walls,
  • the overall look of the walls,
  • ADA access (or lack there of)
  • beach vehicle access to private beaches (ie Gravelly),
  • blocking views,
  • easements versus eminent domain,
  • neighbors wanting different options (berm vs small wall),
  • the varying height of the barrier at different parts of town
  • the fact that it might not get done because of the dissent of owners on the water front
  • the cost of paying for it vs the cost of not doing it
  • etc

It hasn’t been determined whether the final green light will be given solely by the council or if the council will put it out to a referendum for residents to vote on.

Either way this is going to be a *hot* topic and further resident involvement is a must.



NYC Flood Gate Being Considered from Sandy Hook

barrier flood gate nycUsing more than 500 flood simulations, scientists were able to calculate roughly how much cash NYC should expect to spend on flooding every year, plus how much the city will lose over the next century if it does absolutely nothing. The results aren’t surprising but no less ugly: Another century floor would cost NYC $2.2 billion. A 1,000 year flood would cost NYC $25 billion.

A barrier stretching from Sandy Hook to the tip of the Rockaways, for example, would protect Lower Manhattan. It could also protect the Jersey Bayshore.

This is exactly why flood mitigation shouldn’t be looked at municipality by municipality – it should be looked at a region and interstate level.

It is estimated that blocking off the entire harbor would cost between $11 – $24 billion. I think splitting the cost on this makes way more sense than individually trying to fight this.

What do you think?


What is Highlands Spending Money on?

moneyIn this morning’s article “Federal worker bonuses cut in half, new figures show” it stated that the Federal Workers bonuses “dropping nearly 50 percent as a result of draconian budget cuts tied to a partial government shutdown and recent caps on employee awards.”

Which, when you are in financial straights, it makes sense you cut things.

It also went on to state the highest paid Federal employee in NJ is medical officer, Veterans Health Administration who is paid  $330,843.  Which totally got me thinking of our newly appointed CFO Patrick Deblasio, you know the one they couldn’t advertise his job and just hired him on the recommendation of retiring CFO Stephen Pfeffer.

In case you forgot this is what he got paid in 2012: (from USA Today):

$126,896, Carteret borough chief financial officer
$8,000, Carteret schools treasurer of school monies
$29,774, Highlands tax collector
$39,996, Keansburg chief financial officer
$39,940, North Plainfield chief financial officer

So that means in  2012, DeBlasio’s annual compensation totaled $244,606, more than Gov. Chris Christie or state Treasurer Andrew P. Sidamon-Eristoff, who earn $175,000 and $141,000, respectively.

In the new 2014 budget Financial Administration Salaries & wages = $121,175, to be fair a portion may be to pay for the part time purchasing agent and finance clerk, who salaries were approx $20,000 and $10,000 respectively. (Numbers may not be actual, I remember them saying the total was approximately $30k for both salaries.)

Pfeffer in 2013 was paid $117,850 had one other job and no assistants.

Deblasio is to be paid in 2014 $121,175, plus $58,000 for Tax Collector just from Highlands AND has 4 other known jobs.

I typed this before and I’ll type it again, lack of attention can cost the town of Highlands.



Highlands Residents Come together at OLPH

Residents of Highlands got together Friday to discuss long-term Sandy rebuilding plans.

Four sessions were held so that neighbors could talk about the future of their community. Topics ranged from how maximize the waterfront to summer camps for kids, and even how to make the arts a more prevalent part of their neighborhoods.

The event was hosted by a group called Creative New Jersey, which banned Power Points and formal speeches in favor of small groups working creatively.


Full NJ 12 Story

Highlands Art Council

creative NJ in OLPH

News News 12 New Jersey Email Print Aa 0 comments Google Pin It Highlands residents make long-term rebuilding plans at community forums

Zoning Overturns Initial Hennessey Decision

You may remember last year when there was a brouhaha on Rick Hennessey opening his repair shop on Bay Avenue.

Following Superstorm Sandy in 2012 the Swantons who have owned 75 Bay Avenue since 2003 had their son-in-law, Rick Hennessey, who had operated Sea Bright Service Center, and lost his location due to the storm, operate his auto repair and towing business next to their HVAC shop.

When the Swanton’s initially purchased the property, one side of the building was used for lobster/seafood sales, and the other side had been used for auto repairs. Shortly after taking title the owners evicted the lobster/seafood use and proceeded to leased to their nephew -in-law, Ted Schred, who had used as a candle warehouse.

Thinking that, the property had historically been used for the same or similar auto repair uses there would be no problem in Hennessey doing the same type of business again. Also, the building is located in an area which has flooded in the past, it would not be conducive to have a concrete floor for something other than automotive repairs, since it could be subject to flooding and who would use it for any type of retail or office use.

The Zoning Board ultimately found that there was neither an intent to abandon the automotive repair shop use nor any overt act done which would imply an intent to abandon the automotive repair shop use.

The Board initially scheduled a hearing in this case for April 14, 2013, which the hearing date was subsequently adjourned on five occasions, and ultimately heard on February 6, 2014.

Better late than never…

Slope Failure 2014: Atlantic Highlands

IMG_1011[1]  According to Monmouth County PDFD the Henry Hudson Trail between Highlands and Atlantic Highlands is closed indefinitely.

It is closed off right after the spring.

Apparently with the torrential down pours the last two days a “mud flow” occurred, similar to what happened to Sasha’s a few years ago.

Debris that included tires, trees, dirt and rocks is blocking the path continuing on to Atlantic Highlands.

No word on when the trail may be reopening.




Sea Bright Attracting More New Business Despite Flooding

How do you get new businesses to Open in a Flood town?  Sea Bright is using Advertising and an approachable zoning board.

sea bright businesses  Perspirology, is currently constructing a workout studio on the second floor of the former Adrenaline building and is trying to open some time this month.

The Sea Bright Fish Company should be opening on the lower level of the same building.

Still Undecided? Meet & Greet – Wednesday 7pm at Off the Hook.


What are you going to ask from your council choices?

How are you going to combat flooding? What have you done in the past?

How important is reducing taxes?  Did you vote for the new CFO? (aka one of the highest paid public employee in NJ)

Originally posted on dougcard4highlands:

which way will you choose There are 2 open Council seats up for election this May 13th.  Now is a good time to learn and hear about issues that matter to you as a taxpayer – and as a voter – in Highlands!

For the benefit of the public this Q&A is open to all candidates that are free to attend.

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Capt. Joshua Huddy Honored in Highlands May 3

josh huddyThe Sons of the American Revolution (SAR) and the Daughters of the American Revolution (DAR) will hold a wreath-laying ceremony at noon on May 3, at the monument to Capt. Joshua Huddy on Waterwich Ave between Bay and Shore in Highlands.

Following the ceremony a luncheon will be held at a local diner.

During the 1700’s Joshua Huddy the commander of a New Jersey Patriot militia unit and a privateer ship during the American Revolutionary War, was captured by Loyalist forces twice. He escaped his first capture, but following his second capture,April 12th in 1782, he was summarily hanged by irregular forces of the Associated Loyalists.

Huddy was a little bit of a degenerate in civilian life, as he was often in civil and criminal court, either as plaintiff or defendant in both his native Salem, MA, and his final home of Monmouth County, N.J. He was tried and convicted several times for such crimes  as assault and theft, and debt.

In 1778, he married his second wife, Catherine (Applegate) Hart, also a widow and owner of a tavern she inherited from her first husband. Huddy was later accused by the Monmouth County sheriff of trying to steal the tavern from his wife and force her children out onto the street.


How to Win an Internet Argument

cartoonWe’ve all been in a situation where you’ve read posts from people that are totally out in left field. They seem to put a twig on their head and enjoy trying to convince people they are a tree.  You know those people. They are the ones that feel “compelled” to post on everybody else’s posts. I’ve been noticing they all use the same techniques. To easily spot these types of posters, I’ve outlined some of the techniques they like to use to “win an internet argument,” in case you want to try at home.

Technique 1: Hotel California

Keep checking out but don’t actually leave. Even though you “say” you’re not posting anymore and ending the argument, keep coming back for that ONE LAST POST.

Good Night, Gracie

Technique 2: Riposte Post

Use words like “Amused,” “Droll,” and “Pathetic” in your responses. Pretend like you’re a wealthy Bond villain and all other posters are beneath you.

Technique 3: First Amendment Reinterpretation Argument

If someone disagrees with you, ask them if they’ve ever heard of the FIRST AMENDMENT and remind them we live in the U.S. of A. and you’re allowed to say whatever you want. The mere fact that they disagree and dare to post their dissent is PROOF positive they are really just trying to squash your freedom of speech.

Technique 4: The Passive Aggressive Apology Technique

If you want to look like the bigger person, just apologize. You don’t actually have to “MEAN it” or admit you did anything wrong. Just use “sorry” somewhere in your post and if the other person doesn’t accept it, it’s their problem. Because it’s a really bad person that won’t let something go after you typed the word sorry.

Technique 5: The Innocent Question Technique

This is Classic Passive Aggressive, with a touch of “I was just asking a question” – as to make people think your opponent is a suppressor of different ideas and critical thinking.

Technique 6: The Backtrack Technique

If you realize you posted something wrong, quickly use your edit button OR tell them that they are just misinterpreting what you meant. Make them think you are so above them that they are taking the literal meaning and not the figurative one that you meant. The fact that you didn’t mean it that way is really irrelevant.

Technique 7: Wingman Technique

Get one of your friends to agree with your way-off post, and if you don’t have any friends, just create another online identity and agree with yourself. No one will ever know.

Technique 8: Incredible Credentials Technique

Who’s going to know if you’re really not an astronaut, lawyer, doctor, or PhD? Just tell people you are. The only thing that could potentially hinder you is your overall lack of knowledge of any of the subject matter.

Technique 9: Tunnel Vision Technique

So you’ve been attacked and proven wrong on all your points… Stay focused. Don’t let little things like evidence and facts get in your way, keep attacking back. Point out grammatical errors if necessary. Who ever posts last WINS.

Technique 10: Hitler Technique

This is your last ditch effort. When all else fails, compare your opponent to Hitler. He was a really bad guy, so comparing opponents to Hitler will vis-a-vis make them look like really bad people. Don’t let the fact that Godwin’s law (short version: you automatically lose your debate if you do this) distract you. Eyes on the prize, posters! Eyes on the prize!

If you don’t actually want to partake in these techniques but simply wish to combat posters like these, you must remember you are dealing with a person who has essentially placed a twig on their head and expects you to believe they are a tree. Armored in that level of “confidence,” almost anything you say will be construed by them as evidence that their tree disguise is working, so you will have to be very specific and to the point in addressing exactly what they’re doing and why it’s not fooling anyone.

Subtlety and sarcasm are great tools, but there is no way in hell they will get through to this type of poster. Unless you’re just toying with them for your own amusement, then the best way to put an end to it is just to be direct.

Your only other option is to sigh heavily, walk away from your computer, and go eat a ham sandwich.


And Sea Bright has another NEW business Opening

bridge highlandsAccording to RedBankGreen Kelly McRyan is trying to open ‘Boondocks II Go’ where the old Hennessey Service Station was at the foot of the Rumson-Sea Bright Bridge. Its focus will be a seafood takeout restaurant serving nearby beach clubs and pass-through traffic, much of which enters town via the bridge over the Shrewsbury River just feet away. But they’ll also have picnic tables indoors and out for onsite dining.

McRyan took her idea to the Sea Bright planning board recently for advisory opinion, and came away with, well, “they pretty much said, ‘Can you open yesterday?’”.

If only Highlands had that much foresight.. Anybody interested in opening a business in Highlands should get green lighted and asked the question “Can you open yesterday??”





Attn: Voters! April 30th – Step Up To The Plate! Candidate Meet & Greet


Attention Highlands Candidates…

Originally posted on dougcard4highlands:

Candidate Meet & Greet Wednesday April 30th. 7pm at Off the Hook

Candidate Meet & Greet
Wednesday April 30th
7pm at Off the Hook

Doug Card is asking all candidates and voters to step up to the plate and attend a Meet & Greet for an open Q&A session.

April 30th at 7pm at Off The Hookrestaurant in the Upper Room.

ALL CANDIDATES ARE WELCOMEand respectfully encouraged to attend.

Many residents have been asking for a chance to question the candidates for the upcoming Council Election this May 13th. Since none has yet to be scheduled, Doug asked Off The Hook if the Upper Room would be available for all the candidates to meet with the public. Luckily, Wednesday – April 30th was open.

The candidates will first introduce themselves to the public and give a quick minute recap as to why they are running. This will be followed by an open Q&A session with residents asking any question they want…

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What does Albert Einstein have in Common with Highlands Elections?

albert einstein We have an election coming MAY 13th. 

Two seats are available.

Some of the candidates running have been on and off the council for up to 10 years.

Did we have flooding over the last 10 years? Yes

Did we have issues with the sewers over the last 10 years? Yes

Did we have issues with attracting businesses in town for the last 10 years? Yes

Did we have sub-standard housing issues over the last 10 years?  Yes

Why would we want to elect the same people in and honestly expect different results? If they couldn’t fix it before Sandy, why would be able to after?


Their argument is going to be, “new” isn’t always better.. And that is true, however, it provides *us* (Highlands) the opportunity to do something different. And by doing something different we have the opportunity to get different results.

I know by posting this, I’m opening up a lightning rod for myself from certain council’s relatives. My comment back to them is, you have to love your relatives regardless of screw ups or non-performance,  I don’t have to…


Wanted: Highlands Residents for Planning Board & Web Site Committee

wanted Wanted:  Planning Board Member & Web Site Committee Members. Any interested residents can fill out a resident ‘Citizen Leadership form

Planning Board meets 1 x a month on Thursdays.

Web Site Committee members will meet 1 x a month date TBD.

If anyone wonders *why* we might need a web site committee, for  one reason  just look at this:

web site


Guess Blogger: Should Highlands Change its Name?

Always Love a Guest Blogger, all I have to do is Cut & Paste..

—With the threat of a large property tax increase looming, a growing number of folks in town, including long time residents fear we are being driven toward bankruptcy unless we can attract and keep new residents and businesses. One way would be to adopt a more accurate and historic name for our town so that our identity would stand out.

The name Highlands was arbitrarily assigned when we were split off from Middletown and has no real link to our famous past. As you know, are always confused with Atlantic Highlands and folks trying to find our struggling businesses, esp. restaurants, often end up there. NJ people, who don’t live in this immediate area, think that Highlands is a place up in Warren County. And although its painful to admit, we may have an image problem. This could have come from the 1960s and 70s, when, as you may remember, partying got a little wild here.

Here are names folks have suggested, vote for the one you like most:

    Highlands Beach Old town name, area on Sandy Hook

   Twin Lights First built 1828

    Highlands By The Sea

    Water Witch Old town name and book by James Fenimore Cooper, written in 1830

    Parkertown First Clamming family here in early 1800s, many descendents still here.

    Cardville First Cards here in 1814, many descendants still in town


Editors Notes: I kinda of like Highlands, just Highlands. But that being said if we are using old names in Highlands others might include:



Ahern by the Sea