STONE HARBOR - Stone Harbor Borough Council July 6 heard a report from the Public Works Department that some beaches had so little dry sand at high tide that access ramps for the handicapped couldn't be put in place.
The borough has had beach replenishment problems since the U.S. Fish and Wildlife used a new interpretation of the long-standing Coastal Barrier Resources Act (CBRA) to prohibit the use of federal fundsfor the borrowing of sand from Hereford Inlet.
Stone Harbor was left out of a 2019 federal hydraulic replenishment effort, and ongoing litigation makes the borough’s participation in a 2022 refill project uncertain.
Unlike neighboring Avalon, Stone Harbor does not have natural areas of sand buildup that it can tap for a back-passing operation. Much of the natural buildup of sand in the borough is in protected areas at the Point.
During public comment at the council meeting, Geoff Woolery, a resident of the area near the 109th to 110th streets beaches, urged the council to take some form of short-term action.
“The beaches are our livelihood,” Woolery said.
He spoke of impeded access to the beaches, concession stands that need to be a significant height from the beach level, and the lack of a lifeboat that once had a presence on the beach and now “would float away during high tide.”
What short-term measures are available to the borough is unclear.