Toms River Officials: 'We Want Our Residents Back In'
Lavallette residents to be allowed in this weekend
They've watched residents of other towns gain better - or even complete - access to their homes and belongings in Hurricane Sandy-ravaged areas.
Now some are asking: When can Toms River have the same rights?
This is a big concern that township officials say they have, and they plan to address as they petition Governor Christie to allow re-population of Ortley Beach and the Northern Beaches on the Barrier Island.
Mayor Tom Kelaher noted that neighboring Lavallette homeowners will be allowed back in their homes this weekend.
“This storm has been a devastating ordeal for everyone. It’s fortunate that Lavallette, for the most part, was spared the problems that Ortley has," he said on the wrbiste. "Asking why we can’t return as soon as they can is an unfair comparison. We have 6,500 homes on the island, while Lavallette has only 2,300.”
He and the township also said:
- Over 300,000 cubic yards of debris have been collected curbside since the hurricane. In comparison, neighboring Lavallette has collected 65,000 cubic yards.
- Toms River's infrastructure damage is 20 times that of Lavallette.
- The township has lost entire roadways and was plagued with approximately 100 sinkholes. Lavallette was spared those problems, officials said.
The “Northern Beaches” are located north of Lavallette and south of Brick Township, such as Ocean Beach, Chadwick, Monterey and Normandy, according to Toms River's website.
Kelaher said there are four things that need to be completed before "we can begin to discuss re-population of our beach towns with the governor."
"In the Northern Beaches, three of those projects are almost complete, which are that the gas, electric and sewer have been restored to the homes that are intact," he said on the website. "We are now waiting to have potable water established."
Water usage is currently restored at less than half the amount of normal water pressure and it is not potable, officials say, "so you cannot drink it or bathe with it, but the water is there in case of a fire emergency."
Toms River officials are monitoring the progress of the utility companies several times a day, officials said on the website.
In the Northern Beaches, all utilities are anticipated to be complete by early January. In Ortley Beach, the re-population will be much further down the road, officials say.
- Gas: The gas is currently restored to the Route 35 main only and not yet on the side streets. Work is on-going every day.
- Electric: The electric company, Jersey Central Power and Light, is re-setting meters house by house, at a rate of about 100 homes per day, based on the on-going inspections by Toms River, the state and NJDCA electrical inspectors, officials said on the website.
- Water: The township is awaiting the supply of potable drinking water from NJ American Water. There are plans to conduct water quality tests within the next week. For information on turning off your water valve, click here.http://files.shareholder.com/downloads/AMERPR/2222267729x0x620842/c356e797-a806-46c9-b04f-b6ad40275ce9/FINAL_Water_Turn_Off_Barrier_Isles_2_.pdf
- Sewer: The Toms River Municipal Utilities Authority has advised that the sewer system is operational in the North Beach section but not yet in Ortley Beach.