ATL. HIGHLANDS – The borough does have the right to charge for parking at its parking lots in the harbor area, attorney Jason Sena advised the governing body last week, eliminating the last bump to passage of amendments to the borough parking regulations. The Mayor and Council unanimously approved the new regulations as recommended by the parking committee after extensive and months long studies and appraisals.
The ordinance was set for action at last month’s council meeting, until former Councilwoman Jane Frotton, also former chair of the Harbor Commission, said the land was purchased with Green Acres funds and thus prohibited the borough from charging for its uses. Council delayed action on the ordinance until Sena could investigate the background of the acquisition.
Changes to the code will permit overnight parking at the Railroad Avenue and Holly Tree lots with special permits from the police department, and sets at six hours the limit to parking at the Holy Tree lot. The code also eliminates overnight parking on the western side of Hennessey Blvd.
At last night’s meeting, Sena said research by both himself and borough administrator Robert Ferragina did not find any prohibition for the borough to charge for parking at the Holly Tree lot. Sena said there appears to be no record that Green Acres funds were used for the land purchase, but even if they were, the borough would have the right to charge for parking and other amenities on the property so long as the proceeds were kept in a separate account and used for further land preservation in the future. The attorney said it appears the land may have been purchased with other funds, possibly from Monmouth County, rather than Green Acres without any restrictions on future use. Ferragina said the state is continuing to research Green Acres funding, but both he and Sena felt sufficiently confident in the accuracy of the information they have to proceed with the planned ordinance.
Frotton, present virtually at the meeting, said she disagreed with the findings, and also objected to the consideration of a second issue, additional lighting in the area, something not addressed in this ordinance.
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Parking Committee member Mark Rich, who has done extensive studies and recommendations for the changes, thanked the governing body for taking action and also reminded them that the new code also means taking down some parking signs currently in place on Hennessey Blvd.
In other business, retired Police Chief David Rossbach was honored by the governing body for his 42 years of service to the local department until his retirement last month. It delayed action on the MOU to be signed with new chief Scott Reinert until the Chief is able to attend a meeting.
Mayor Loretta Gluckstein also another head boat spot is available at the municipal yacht harbor with the retirement of the Sea Hunter, one of the five head boats docked at the Municipal Yacht Harbor. With eight spaces available for head boats, the four remaining boat captains, most of whom will resume fishing operations next month, represent the east number of party boats that have ever been in the harbor, where eight spots are allotted for them. Anyone interested in leasing a party boat site can contact the Harbor Commission at the Harbor. There are also a limited number of other boat slips still available for lease for the upcoming season.
Councilman Jon Crowley also gave a review of t he work in progress which will enable the governing body to offer an improved system for virtual meetings and anticipates the work will be completed and sufficient tests conducted for full use at either late April or early May meetings.
Crowley also reported the regionalization committee concerning the possible regionalization of the three boards of education here and in Highlands and Sea Bright has decided to wait until a report currently underway at Henry Hudson is complete before making a report to the governing body. Both Highlands and Sea Bright have passed resolutions requesting the state Commissioner of Education to put the regionalization question on the November ballot, and are waiting for Atlantic Highlands to make its decision before any question can be put on the ballot. Mayor Gluckstein named Tracey Abbey White and Sara Weimer to the regionalization committee, praising both for their experience as educations and members of boards of education.