27 thoughts on “What do you want to see for Highlands in 2014

  1. rockemsockem

    I would like to see flood mitigation but want to make sure that there is second opinion on the plan will actually work before we waste over 4 million on it. T & M have made errors in the past that have cost us. We can’t afford not to get it right.


    1. barbara iannucci

      I totally agree with you rockem. Permits for the existing “shovel ready” project goes back years … before the flood plain regs were being scrutinized … plus its worth a peer review to see how other projects that have been completed since those permits may (or may not) have impacted the original specs. A peer review is .01% of the total being bonded.


    2. highlandsblog Post author

      also want on full disclosure: it’s $50k for revamping Master Plan, it is also $50k for an extra set of eyes on the flooding project.. which would you prefer..


    3. Rockemsockem

      Revamping a master plan for a town spending 4..5 million on flood mitigation project that has a possibilty of failing since of its not up to date on current flood plain regulations would be meaningless. Need to get it right, no doubt!


    4. NoLongerNew

      Spend it on making sure our flood project is appropriate and designed to do what it’s supposed to do.

      Put the Master Plan on the back burner for now. There are more important things to do than worry about a Master Plan that it seems no one on our council has read. If they have read it they either forgot what was in there or are actively ignoring it. Code Enforcement? Bringing businesses to Bay Ave? It’s been ten years…why has nothing changed?


    5. prayingmantis

      Why do they want to redo the master plan? Nolan said he would fight to get high rises at Shadowlawn if he was reelected. Is this part of that plan?


    6. NoLongerNew

      I don’t know. The 2004 Master Plan scrapped the idea of a new borough hall because the fire department moved to their own building. Maybe the new MP will also include a borough hall that this town can’t afford right now.


  2. Jen

    The fact that there was actual debate over getting a second opinion on a $4.5 MILLION dollar job (that was originally spec’d out how many years ago?) completely baffles me. T&M just royally screwed up the recent sewer project, among other things, so there’s no freaking way we should rubber stamp any more approvals for them. Besides, we can cough up all this money for various overpriced toys for the fire department and first aid, so why not be able to find $50K to make sure this is done right, for once.

    And as to the objections that this might delay the process even further? Seriously? It’s been sitting out there ready to go for how many years, and never got prioritized? Get it done, yes, but get it done correctly. We can’t afford to make a mistake on this one.


  3. barbara iannucci

    I would like to see our Council truly hear and follow the recommendations of our retiring CFO regarding BONDING. He stated publicly that 2015 is our trouble year …. so BE CONSERVATIVE in 2014 … and he also recommended to craft the budget with no anticipatory Grant $$$ (if it comes in cosider it gravy) … and stash away some reserves for known expenses. etc.


    1. NoLongerNew

      2015 is going to be a crappy year because of all the tax appeals. When council allows people to keep their property in a perpetual state of violating the building code, what did they expect? Did they really think the residents would put up with that?


    2. Stacy

      Tax appeals are based on comparable sales so if nothing sells it’s hard to prove your assessment is too high. It has to be a legitimate sale, not a short sale or a foreclosure.
      Given what I saw for last year, at least through the deadline, sales were actually higher so unless you were assessed between 300-400 there isn’t much wiggle room.


    3. NoLongerNew

      You’d be surprised what can bring down the value and there are so many variables. Even if there are comps, that house might be surrounded by neighbors that care about their property and maintain the homes. If my house is surrounded by vacant run down over grown properties you can bet I’ll find an attorney and an appraiser that will write down the value of my property.

      Add on top of that the drop in property values since the town did their last reassessment and odds are you can get a reduction. There are appraisers and attorneys that will get the job done.


    4. Stacy

      You don’t understand how the appeals process works if you think that throwing money at an attorney or appraiser is going to win you a reduction from the county board. Since I have appealed twice, gone before the board once and received a reduction both times I am responding with fact based answers for free that you can gladly go spend 1000 to get from someone else.

      You are also mistaken as property values actually went up when they did the reassessment. The county decided that the land value was only 66% give or take a few percentage points so the average property increased somewhere around 13%. There were a significant number of appeals, every one of them is available to look at on the county website. If you were so inclined to look at them you will see in black and white what the before and after were and when you find one that received a reduction you will notice it was not the value of the land that was reduced but the value of the improvements on the house.

      I’m glad you are wealthy enough to think you can buy your way to a tax break but I’m not and neither are most of the people I know. Those who wanted a reduction like I did followed the instructions for filing our appeals, filed them and then were granted reductions because the comparable SALES and the law in the state of NJ is quite clear.

      Of course if your comparable sales are those run down burned out homes in your neighborhood then yes you would see a reduction but if not then someone has given you bad information.


    5. NoLongerNew

      I am very well versed in tax appeals. The market overall has tanked since the last reassessment. How do I know? It was a bitch to refinance because of the lower comps.

      I know I didn’t *need* an attorney but I found a kick-ass one to work on contingency. I’m already ahead of the game with the first credit on my tax bill, and that’s after factoring in the cost of the appraiser.

      And thank you for thinking I’m wealthy enough to throw my money around. If that was the case do you think I A) would have bought in Highlands or B) gone through the tax appeal process? I mean really, if I was that wealthy what’s a couple thousand dollars in tax savings over the years, right?


  4. Voice Of Reason

    What is going on with the project down Shore Dr? Really wish they would tweak it a little more with commercial… restaurants & bars… like good bars not like the driftwood and claddagh… a place like the clam hut a bar you would expect in a shore town.. not one with 10 motorcycles parked outside and a 1970’s cover band. something a little more up on the century we are in…


    1. Voice Of Reason

      and furthermore not a place the feels like your in a large closet like the pickle… the best place we had in town was the Clam Hut. Is it coming back? Whats going on with the property there?


    2. Rockemsockem

      Just looking at Poll results thus far and I think mitigating flooding with have positive effect on taxes. More people will invest if town is safer …in turn bigger tax base. To me they go hand and hand.


    3. prayingmantis

      This project has its approvals from the planning board – wishes aside. The zoning for that area allows everything but requires nothing so the planning board has little control over the final mix of residential, commercial, etc. Yes the master plan says “Gateway” to Highlands, mixed-use of marine commercial, restaurants, upscale housing but they had no ratios, just allow everything, so you get what is most profitable for the developer, residential townhouses, condo form of ownership. Short-sighted master plan. Now they want to make this same mistake for the whole waterfront.


    4. The Guy Behind The Guy Behind The Guy

      how long does a project like that take to complete? does it include doris and ed’s?


    5. The Guy Behind The Guy Behind The Guy

      well guess that a good thing, thats a decent chunk of property maybe we can get some water front commercial in there


    6. prayingmantis

      Not likely. My understanding is that Doris and Ed’s is Phase II of the current townhouse project. It just isn’t included in the plan that was before the Planning Board.


  5. Seven Stars

    I’d like to see more people back in their homes. Stabilizing the taxes would help a lot, as I’m afraid I won’t be able to afford living here anymore if I can get my house lifted and fixed. I am scared of investing what money I have in what may turn out to be an impossible situation. I understand tourism is important to some of our businesses but affordable housing is important to our residents. I live here all year as do most of my neighbors (at least, they did when I had neighbors!)


    1. Rockemsockem

      7 Stars just to clarify I meant investing in.property and living here if no flooding not just business. If there are people to serve, Business will come.


  6. duncan mcleod

    I want to see the roller coaster that is advertised on the clam fest billboard to actually be at the clam fest this year. isn’t that like false advertising? 🙂


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