Saturday, April 30, 2011

Strathmere Improvement Association Newsletter - 4/29/11

In this issue: Strathmere Is Coming Back to Life; School Elections; Bertha's Alley; Beach Erosion; Pedestrian Safety; Health & Welfare


We are seeing lots of signs of the approaching summer season. Frank's boats are in the water; almost all of the trailers are back; the Deauville is now open seven days a week; Mildred's is open three days; Twistie's and Uncle Bill's will open Mothers' Day weekend; and La Fontana, which is having a new septic system installed, is hoping to open Mothers' Day weekend (they are also opening a new restaurant at 50th Street in Sea Isle).
As you may have seen here on the Strathmere Blog, the Strathmere Motel has been sold and is undergoing extensive renovations with plans to reopen in May.


School elections were held this past Wednesday. The Upper Township school budget of $22 million was defeated 1064 to 773 (58% against) and the $9.5 million bond question to renovate the middle and primary schools was defeated 1076 to 713 (60% against). The Township Committee will now have to decide what to do about the budget. The School Board has not decided how to proceed with its plan to replace the elementary school for $38 million.


Upper Township honored Bertha Wittkamp (our former Secretary Debbie Vandergrift's Aunt) by naming the alley south of West Seacliff after her. Bertha was the first baby born in Strathmere and lived here her entire life. See story with more details here. Our thanks to Sam Baker and Carol Baker for making this honor happen!


If you get the Citizens' Newsletter, you probably saw these two pictures taken by Ted Kingston. The first was taken just after the beach replenishment and the second last month. The loss of beach over that time is clearly shown.

October 6, 2009...

March 17, 2011

With that loss and full moon tides coming in late April, we sent additional pictures and questions to the Township Engineer, with the following responses:

Monday, 4/11 (to the Township Engineer)

Last week a couple of guys stopped in at the library here and asked for "City Hall". When informed it was over in Petersburg, they admitted they just wanted to use the bathroom.
After doing that, they said they worked for FEMA and had been down checking the beach. They said that money had been appropriated to restore the beach from storm damage, but that we never picked up on it and now they will have to re-apply. What's going on? Did we actually lose the money? Looks like we really need it.
These pictures were taken at Seaview around 1:30 today - about one hour before high tide, which is predicted to be only a 3.0 foot high tide.

As you can see, the ocean has washed away a huge amount of beach at Seaview, and that bank is rapidly approaching the snow fence and dune grass you installed.
Next week (Friday, 4/15 to Thursday, 4/21 - full moon is 4/17) they are predicting high tides of from 4.6 feet to 5.3 feet, with four days of high tides over five feet - and that's with no storm or northeast wind! That's two feet higher than what you see here.

Is there some (legal) way you can move some sand from the huge beach at Webster, where presumably the sand is going, up to Seaview to prevent damage there? Seems like a shame to lose what was built and planted there....


Response (Tuesday, 4/12):

We have been watching the several small storms and full moons continue to erode the beach at Seaview.
Regarding the FEMA funding, we have not lost any funding from the storms last year. We have been waiting for FEMA & the State OEM to tell us that the disaster funds were authorized and we would be reimbursed. Because of the new federal disaster declaration for the December 26 & 27 Blizzard, the funding from the earlier storms will be rolled into the newer storm declaration.
We are hopeful that we will receive authorization from FEMA and the State OEM for a beachfill project in the fall.
We will be having discussions with the NJDEP and USFWS about moving sand but we need to consult with them because of the piping plover nesting season. There is already one pair starting to nest in the natural area and there was one other pair looking near Williams. IF the second pair does nest near Williams it will severely limit what we can do.
If you have any other questions please let me know.


Our reply (Friday, 4/15): (to the Township Engineer)

I don't know about the piping plovers, but here's how Seaview looked at high tide this (Friday) evening. You've already lost one line of snow fence and there should probably be some kind of "hazard tape" to keep people from wandering off that cliff at the end of the path... If we get the (now) predicted seven-foot tide tomorrow evening we'll lose lots more.

Tuesday, 4/19 - (to the Township Engineer)
Now that the beach access at Seaview is closed because of the storm damage, will the Township be doing work to get that access opened again?


Response, Tuesday, 4/19

Probably not because of the nesting birds. We will continue to monitor & take steps as necessary if erosion worsens.


Currently, beach access at Seaview is closed


Crosswalks: The Township did place several of these pedestrian warnings on Commonwealth, and they seem to be helping to "calm" traffic.
In the background, you can see County work going on to improve drainage along the bridge approach. That contract is also supposed to include a marked crosswalk at Williard when the other work completes.

Health and Welfare: Our SIA President Butch Vandegrift underwent major (six-hour) surgery on April 13 at Presbyterian Hospital in Philadelphia. He is now recovering slowly but surely at home. We all wish Butch the very best!

The Strathmere Improvement Association includes all owners in Strathmere and Whale Beach and many visitors. It was founded over 50 years ago as a community organization with the simple objective of making Strathmere a better place. We are proud of the organization's many accomplishments over the years.

Once again, thanks for your continuing support!

Butch Vandegrift - President
Linda Bateman -Vice-President
Donna Diefenderfer - Treasurer
Dorothy Addario - Recording Secretary
Ken Weaver - Corresponding Secretary

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