Trenton, NJ – New Jersey Department of Community Affairs (DCA) Commissioner Richard E. Constable, III today announced the award of $280,000 in Post-Sandy Planning Assistance Grants to Union Beach, Monmouth County, to put into effect comprehensive long-range plans designed to enable the Borough to become resilient in the event of future significant weather events.
These grants are the second Post-Sandy Planning Assistance funds that Union Beach received. The Borough was awarded its first planning grant in October 2013, and used the $30,000 grant to complete a Strategic Recovery Planning Report, which serves as the Borough’s comprehensive guide for seven recovery and resiliency projects funded by the second grant.
“As New Jersey continues to recover from Sandy, the planning that Union Beach is undertaking will identify opportunities to build local resilience and promote growth that is sustainable even in hazardous conditions such as those experienced during and after the storm,” said Commissioner Constable, whose Department is administering many of the Sandy Recovery programs for the State. “We applaud the Borough for pursuing these worthwhile projects and look forward to hearing of their successful completion.”
More than 2,000 housing units and 90 percent of the Borough were inundated with flood waters from Superstorm Sandy that ranged from 2 to 10 feet in depth. Approximately 280 homes have been or are set to be demolished as a direct result of damages caused by Sandy. The severe flooding impacted residents and businesses alike, leaving roadways impassable, inhibiting the circulation of emergency vehicles and eventually leading to a mandatory order of evacuation of the entire Borough, which was littered with storm damage debris and without power for more than two weeks. All of the municipal buildings, fire houses and Emergency Medical Services buildings sustained damage and were inoperable for months after the storm. The bulkhead, boardwalk, open space areas and businesses along the bay front and throughout town were destroyed.
The goal of the Strategic Recovery Planning Report was to evaluate Sandy’s impact on Union Beach’s infrastructure, public safety, residential homes and business sectors and to utilize this information to stimulate economic recovery while planning for public safety and response to this and future natural disasters, according to Borough officials.
The seven planning projects identified in the Strategic Recovery Planning Report that will be funded by the second grant will help Union Beach:
- Prepare a Master Plan Reexamination Report and an update of the Borough Master Plan.
- Prepare a Capital Improvement Plan that focuses municipal capital investments on public facilities, fleets and equipment to build community resiliency in plants and equipment.
- Evaluate the Borough’s permit and application review process and determine where efficiencies can be implemented that will yield schedule and quality improvements.
- Develop a Geographic Information System (GIS) that will increase the community’s resiliency and enable it to better prepare for, respond to and recover from disasters.
- Identify a new, more resilient and less flood-prone site for the Borough’s Department of Public Works facility and prepare a redevelopment plan for the re-use of the existing site.
- Prepare a redevelopment plan for the Brook Avenue neighborhood and redevelopment of the area into a new well-designed residential neighborhood that will enhance the area and be more resilient to future Sandy-type storms.
- Prepare a comprehensive plan for the revitalization and redesign of the Route 36 commercial corridor.
The Post-Sandy Planning Assistance Grants are funded through Community Development Block Grant Disaster Recovery monies provided by the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD). The $5 million program is available to each of the nine counties most impacted by Sandy as determined by HUD (Atlantic, Bergen, Cape May, Essex, Hudson, Middlesex, Monmouth, Ocean and Union) and all of the municipalities within those counties that have experienced a ratable loss of at least 1% or $1 million due to the storm.
Applications for grants are still being accepted on a first-come, first-serve basis by the DCA’s Office of Local Planning Services, which is administering the program, until all funds are exhausted.
For more information on Post-Sandy Planning Assistance Grants, go to http://www.nj.gov/dca/services/lps/pspag.html.