SEA ISLE CITY – Sea Isle City Council approved unanimously a resolution Dec. 8 which ratified a memorandum of understanding between the city and the Fraternal Order of Police. It will run until Jan. 1 2018.
“We are saving about $300,000 per employee over the life of their careers with the city; each officer will be affected a bit differently depending on where they are within the system of personnel steps but we’re within the 2 percent cap mandated by the state, and there will be increased participation by each employee on an annual basis to pay for their health insurance,” said Council President John Gibson.
“We are pretty satisfied with the agreement, discussions got a little heated but we all can be happy it’s a good contract although neither side is completely happy which is the mark of a lot of compromise,” he continued.
Under pending business, council took up further discussion of a proposal to change hours when demolition and construction will be allowed.
“According to the administration, they can handle any modification, no action will be taken today but we will have something ready to go before the summer when demolition and construction have proven to be most irritating to residents, visitors and property owners,” said Gibson.
During the public comment portion, a resident pointed out that deliveries have the same effect on the town’s peace and quiet and they should not be excluded from any revamped or new ordinance that will take effect.
“Why abandon deliveries as part of the new later starting time since most of them should be going to the commercial districts anyway,” he said.
Chamber Seeks Improvements
Gibson summarized a letter he recently received from the local Chamber of Commerce that requests three improvements to improve operations.
The first is to increase parking from $1 to $2 which, per the letter, will help stores better serve their customers since they are not getting the turnover they want. “We’ll need to consult the city’s tourism people and see what we should do on this request,” said Gibson.
The second request was to ask the city to purchase a lot that might be available in the downtown area for more parking. Gibson said he and city administration will look into that request.
The third was to ask for modification to the city’s zoning ordinance related to natural disaster language that is holding up real estate settlements because it is not compliant with federal lending agency requirements.
Christopher Glancey, president of the chamber, followed up on the letter during the public comment segment, “I would like to ask council to take quick action on expediting this ordinance modification that will help us avoid having more home sales cancelled because we are not adhering to Freddie Mac and Fannie Mae requirements. We don’t need a use variance or a letter for the interim period before such ordinance is fixed. But rather please give us something that these federal lending agencies will accept so that this is not a problem anymore,” he said.
Home Size Issue
During public comment, a succession of residents made pitches not to delay any further enacting FAR ( floor area ratio) standards that will curb the building of the “monster houses that have taken over this community,” in the words of one speaker.
“We eliminated F.A.R. as a result of some pressure from FEMA to eliminate ‘bonus rooms’ and in hindsight that was not the best decision,” explained Council member Mary Tighe.
“We get a 25 percent discount from FEMA because of our ordinances so we don’t want to jeopardize that, “replied Gibson.
However, as one resident noted, “while Council deliberates and says it only wants to reinstate F.A.R. when the master plan is ready, which will be at the earliest a year from now, despite so much resident interest in getting this done as quickly as possible, we know there are dozens if not hundreds of new properties being built to take advantage of the situation as long as you fail to act.”
Council member John Divney, who also serves on the Planning Board, said he would carry this message to their next meeting and “see if we can find middle ground that everyone can agree on.”
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