Tag Archives: Council Meeting

5 Things from Last Night’s Council Meeting (10/21)

5   1. Street Scape is progressing on Bay Ave & Shore Drive. However, the ripper uppers are working quicker than the concrete pourer’s and stampers. Weather is going to play a factor in the completion date. To see the plans click here

2. Pulte is requesting that street names within their project, they are considering, Harborside Way or View Point Drive, The Marina owner was requesting Willow St be renamed Harbor Way. The residents in the surrounding areas were sent out a letter Oct 7 that explained the request and were looking for feedback. Residents can either call the Borough or email the Borough.

3. Vacant Planning Board Member seats were filled.  Greg Wells & Christian Lee were moved up from Alternate Members to regular members, and Rosemary Ryan was appointed to Alternate #1 and Katie Reed was appointed to Alternate #2.

4. Sandy Memorial, a motion was offered up to amend the June minutes to reflect that Tim Hill did not actually mention the Tilt Up Project, and the council agreed to strike that portion of the minutes from the record. Further, Mayor Nolan asked to explore the possibility of requesting the Tilt Up to move the structure to a different location.

5.  Clam Plant Lease, It may or may not be put out to Bid. The Lease ended in August of 2015. We hired an independent consultant, Fisheries Technology Associates, Inc in May for $32,000 to determine what the going rent rate for that building would be.

Highlands Targets New Business et al

et containerEver notice the container on the back part of the et al parking lot? I never paid attention to it either.

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:

et al permit

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!

Tonight’s Highlands Council Meeting: Its all about the Budget 2015

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.

highlands budget 2015

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.

5 Things From Last Week’s Council Meeting

5 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.

5 Things From Feb 4th Council Meeting

51. R -15 -31 Resolution Establishing Additional Public Portion Comment Period – This in essence would allow questions and comments from residents on the consent agenda items before the council voted on them in addition to at the end of the meeting. The scope would be limited to the consent agenda items being voted on and the 3 min time limit would apply.

Typical consent agenda items are routine, procedural decisions, like approval of minutes and decisions that are would not be considered to be noncontroversial and most likely not invite public comment.  However, the council has in the past have included controversial items to this agenda, such as the Facebook item R-14-220 knowing full well it couldn’t be discussed by the public until after the vote was executed.

The end result was it was voted down.  Mayor Nolan stated he didn’t like hearing some people at the end of the council meeting so he didn’t want to have to listen to them twice during a meeting. Apparently Councilpersons Rebecca Kone and Kevin Redman agreed with as they both voted “No.”

2. R-15-55  Resolution Authorizing Bid for Lease of Clam Depuration Plant, the clam plant which is owned by the town has a 20 year lease up in August. They want to get a more of a market value for the building as with Sandy and all our taxes have increased as our property values have decreased any increase revenue stream is gravely needed. Its really just a negotiation tactic because the 20 year lease is up. If two companies bid on it, Highlands has a fair shake at getting a higher value for the lease. Reality being (and everybody knows this) Highlands is hurting since Sandy. We still have to pay the cops and if you even suggest that they tighten their belts you’re labeled a cop hater. We still have to staff and run the schools and if you suggest they tighten their belts you must hate children. We still have to pay for the engineering and lawyer fees and if you suggest they tighten their belts the council says it did by posting the notice for RFP on the highlandsnj.us web site and its not their fault nobody else bid on those positions.

The bid for the lease is expected to go out in March of this year and the minimum bid is expected to be set at $76,000 a year. Normally an industrial lease would go for between $3 – $15 a square foot, depending on the area, the building etc. I’m lumping that in to all industrial real estate, I have no idea what a clam plant lease should go for.

3. R-15-36 Resolution Awarding Professional Engineering Service – Street Scape – remember the grant we got last year? Then at the last council meeting they table awarding the job but said they were going to start sometime this year?  They awarded the job and are planning on doing sometime this year. So they say..

4. Presentation from Gateway National Recreation Area about the three Requests for Proposals (RFPs) for leasing up to six historic Army buildings within the Fort Hancock and Sandy Hook Proving Ground National Historic Landmark, which encompasses all of Gateway’s Sandy Hook Unit. The park will accept lease applications through April 17, 2015. Maybe the Park service could throw some of the rejected RFP’s Highlands way, we could use some more business in town..

Sandy Hook lease project5. Borough Trailers & PD – Tim Hill in his report indicated that he is meeting with FEMA this Friday to go over rebuilding 171 Bay Ave. Where have I heard that before? Oh I know last August in a Two River Times article about Highlands running business 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.”

I guess by “next month” he meant……

To see the meeting in its entirety click here

5 Things From Last Nights Council Meeting

5  1. The Streetscape services contract for Bay Ave was not awarded and tabled. However, they are planning on starting that project this year. The project which is broken out in 3 business zones on Bay Ave includes:

Replacing the sidewalks with stamp colored concrete
Adding Light Posts
Adding Planters

2. Army Corps update: They plan to have their report done by the end of 2015. As part of the report they will be having one on one mandatory sessions with home owners that will be affected by their plan. There will also be public meetings in May/June 2015 and August/Sept 2015. Highlands is under no obligation to comply with their recommendations, but if we don’t work with them in completing their report it could cost the town in the future with no help offered.

3. Monmouth County FEMA Meeting Feb 20th @ Henry Hudson High School between 4 – 8 pm. You can meet with a representative and discuss your specific property. This is part of the process of approving the new FEMA maps.

4.  The HBP budget of $60k was approved by the council. The budget was $10k higher than last year.

5.  The town is looking at potentially reversing the decision to make Valley a one way street. After multiple complaints from residents affected, Councilperson Ryan is surveying additional residents for feedback. To weigh in: councilwoman.ryan@highlandsnj.us

To view the meeting in its entirety click here

5 Things You Should Know About Sept 3rd’s Highlands Council Meeting

5I. DCA & Unsafe Housing Funds

Sept 22 DCA will be out and about in lower Highlands looking at houses that meet the criteria for unsafe housing funds. The unsafe housing fund is a program run by the state to demolish unsafe Sandy-damaged structures in order to alleviate blight and address threats to public health and welfare.

Some items that can make a house that may be on the list not eligible are:

  • Open Permits on the Structure or current construction.
  • Property Owner that is unwilling to allow for the demolition
  • Oil tanks on the property
  • Lien holders that are unresponsive in signing off on the demolition

So if you see people in orange vests around Highlands Sept 22, that’s what that is about.

II.  Electronic Tax Sale (R-14-197)

Highlands is going forward with the electronic tax sale option. So instead of the tax sale taking place in Ptak or the Borough Trailer, it will happen online. The thought process is the online environment provides a greater pool of potential lien buyers, thus creating the environment for a more competitive tax sale process.

III. Bonding Capacity Amounts

In the last Council meeting, the CFO stated we were $2 1/2 million away from our cap. In this meeting he stated he was incorrect and we’re more like $5.3 million away from our cap.

IV. Two Minute Rule was discussed in executive session (Again)

It was the attorney’s recommendation to increase the two minute rule to 3 minutes and the Council will vote on that in the next meeting.

V. Peddler Licenses

They are increasing the number of licenses for peddlers from 6 to 10. (There are apparently 30 people on a waiting list for this.) Also they are increasing the yearly fee from twenty-five dollars ($25) to fifty dollars ($50).

There were a lot more stuff discussed to see the ustream click here



Are you Confused Highlands?

At Wednesday Nights Council meeting, If you tune into the streamed meeting and fast forward to the 5.28 minute mark you hear about O-147-7 (Moving the nonpartisan elections back to November after the initial May election, which ultimately would horse quotesave the town money.) You remember the Non-Partisan thing right? 728 of you voted for it last November. That thing that takes out the Democrat and Republican labels off at the local level and opens up the candidate pool to others wanting to run for office. The initial election has to happen in May, then its totally feasible to move back to November.

Well, Councilman Francy offered up the ordinance to do this, and nobody seconded it. {crickets} Kind of weird since both Council woman’s Kane and Ryan back in November erected signs AGAINST the non-partisan with the premise that moving the election to May would just cost the town too much money.  Apparently they are not concerned about the money now.

But it gets better.. fast forward to the 24.15 min mark in the streamed meeting and watch to about the 26 min mark. Their rationale for crickets is, “Many people [contacted various council members] on moving the election and thought {the whole non-partisan thing} was just really confusing.”

First off, the online agenda that was put up early Wednesday morning, didn’t even include the proposed ordinance so who knew it was agenda feb19going to be offered up to proactively voice their confusion?  Second, 728 people weren’t confused on the movement or the election process in November, so it’s quite presumptuous on the council’s part to assume that most Highlanders are “confused”. Maybe I just have more faith in the intelligence of my fellow residents than they do.

When pressured on it, the council back peddled that them not moving it forward on it Wednesday night didn’t mean they were never going to move it forward, it just meant they were going to wait until sometime after the first election as to not  confuse us simpleton Highlanders.

If you are NOT confused, I suggest you write an email to the council with the subject line “I AM NOT CONFUSED”

Frank Nolan mayornolan@highlandsnj.us
Council President
Rebecca Kane councilwoman.kane@highlandsnj.us
Kevin Redmond councilman.redmond@highlandsnj.us
Christopher Francy councilmanfrancy@highlandsnj.us
Tara Ryan councilwoman.ryan@highlandsnj.us

What did you miss at Last Night’s Highlands Council Meeting

I have no idea what happened at the executive session. The main meeting consisted Carla from the BID reading from the Transit Village Criteria and Scoring Guide

Seriously. This is what the agenda consisted of.

Apparently we are 75% compete. We have to submit the whole application by February. Benefits for developers include: State Tax credits and grants that can be applied toward development.  Benefits for the town include DOT monies they wouldn’t necessarily have half mile radiusaccess to.

The 1/2 mile radius from the Seastreak Terminal will make up the proposed area for the Transit Village. To put it in context, its as the crow flies, so approximately to Cedar St.  It also goes over to Plum island at Sandy Hook as well as up to Monmouth Hills across Rt 36 and past the Henry Hudson Trail.

Obviously the majority of the radius isn’t actually Highlands.  So how that impacts the application isn’t quite clear.  So its something we’re going after, what the ‘real’ benefits and limitations has either not been yet vetted or maybe just shared.

There is going to be a public meeting to get resident opinions on how to handle the criteria and get feedback.

Hopefully they will use slides.


Will Shadow Lawn become East Point South?

The night before 4th of July, a Potential Ordinance was Introduced to amend Zoning and Land Use Code for the MH Mobile Home District known as “Shadowlawn” and lift the height restriction in an emergency session of the Highlands Council.
All attending members voted “yes” to the potential introduction.  There will be 2 other public meetings on this subject, one with the planning board then one more with the council.
To view the streamed version of Wednesday’s meeting click here

Meeting Notes from May 22 Council Meeting at PTAK

From Guest Blogger: J Sommers

Last night, we got more of the sit-and-wait-since-we-are-powerless-but-oh-so-hopeful attitude regarding house lifting grants from the evil FEMA empire, V/AE zones change decisions from wise politicians, thoughtful reductions in our insurance premiums by kind-hearted insurance companies and  donations from scores of private developers lining up to lift the entire town. That and the Brooklyn Bridge will be extended to Highlands.

The Council got together with the Zoning Committee and the Planning Board to discuss how to unravel their brilliant decision from last year to convert half of downtown to mixed use (I suspect heavily supported by the town’s business gurus) thereby precluding all significantly damaged homeowners of single residences in that area from being able to rebuild to get back into their homes and from being eligible for any grants due to nonconformity! Way to go guys! One of the last brilliant ideas of the night was to allow each homeowner to get in front of the zoning board to ask for a variance because of course we want to provide as many incentives as possible for the non-existent businesses that have no intentions to set up shop in Highlands over the needs of the residents who are holding on to the hope that there’s hope for Highlands.

In other unconfirmed news, it appears that HBP engaged a marketing person to do PR for the town in order to entice developers to come in and what better way to give Highlands its 15 minutes of fame than to play up the one idea that the mayor has latched on to lift the town. It would be interesting to see all those amazing presentations sent from as far away as Japan firsthand and to see whether anyone explored anything beyond filling my 1st floor with sand!

Speaking of outlandish ideas, a call to action to put pressure on OEM, politicians, FEMA and anyone else involved in the process to permit retroactive application of grants to lift homes has been dismissed notwithstanding the fact it would save taxpayers, insurance and the feds money in the long run. To quote the mayor, “We don’t want to publicly embarrass our senators”! Really?