UPDATE: Welcomed Back, But Destruction Keeps Pelican Island Residents at Bay

Residents of the small island have been cleared to move back in, but significant damage to homes and the absence of some utilities is keeping residents out.

Residents of Pelican Island's have been cleared by officials to return to their homes, but the still-significant destruction and ongoing restoration efforts are keeping neighborhoods largely empty and abandoned, for now at least.

On Thursday morning, a day after Toms River Mayor Tom Kelaher announced that the island's residents would be the first township residents allowed to move back into their barrier island homes following Hurricane Sandy, Pelican Island remained mostly empty, save for some contractors and a scant few homeowners.

Berkeley Township Mayor Carmen F. Amato Jr. announced late yesterday that residents in the Berkeley section of Pelican Island would be allowed to return home.

But unlike the Toms River section, all utilities - water, sewer, gas and electric service - had been restored to the Berkeley side.

Many homes in neighborhoods on either side of Route 37 remain gutted after surging flood waters from Sandy entered their homes. Some homeowners, like Don Puzio, who owns a rental property on the island, and Larry Dorr, who lives directly on the water, did not see as much damage from Sandy thanks to their homes being elevated.

Still, work needs to be done before even their homes are back to where they once were.

Cars destroyed by flood waters were still being removed Thursday and while much of the debris pulled out of homes after Sandy has been pulled away, Puzio said, many sidewalks and parts of some streets are still littered with trash, wood, and insulation. 

Jack Schultz December 20, 2012 at 07:01 PM
why would you put a refrigerator on the street for pickup with all spoiled food in it. That's why they make plastic trash bags......just trying to pass the problem on to someone else.
ed mays December 20, 2012 at 08:17 PM
Ed Mays. Sure, let someone else handle your rotten food...talk about laziness and discourtesy.
~Barb~ December 20, 2012 at 09:13 PM
Beware of a company from North Carolina going door to door looking for work. They are wearing lime green shirts and are quoting tree and landscaping services (at ridiculously HIGH prices). They were in Toms River today.
Kris December 20, 2012 at 09:30 PM
Lets try to keep the work with local contractors. I know there is to much for our own but lets try. Have seen so many out of state ones coming in to take the work away from our own. Support the local contractors, there are many who haven't had work in awhile.
angel December 20, 2012 at 10:47 PM
Will do. But caution the local contractors that this not Mega Millions winning the lottery, which some, and maybe even many of them do. If you gouge, we will not forget. The internet is a beautiful thing to pass around names of the contractors who think they hit the lottery. We will not forget.
Mark December 21, 2012 at 03:00 AM
Hi I think it would be good to share names of reputable local contractors. Also, names of NJ based companies who elevate homes. I don’t know if I will end up with enough money in the end, but I got to raise my house and get if off the ground. I cannot take another hit like this. Does anyone know who elevates homes around in Bayville, yet is honest? I know if will be a long time as there is probably a waiting list. Good luck to everyone too. Best Mark
Shelley licknack December 21, 2012 at 03:14 PM
Mark...creative construction...609-618-2966. Ask for bruce..they are amazing. I have gone thru nothing like u but they just put a handicap ramp in. I have seen their work in bay ville..homes on the water raised....I know anyone can put anyone's name up there..just talk with the guy..u will be able to tell the honesty/trust.....good luck...shelley
grace December 21, 2012 at 05:43 PM
agreed...heard from a friend yesterday she paid a company 14000$ to do mold work and guess what she woke up to the mold in 5 of her rooms...called company and they are from cincinatti....now they wait for a return call
Lou Cando December 21, 2012 at 07:09 PM
some of the disaster recovery work which fema contracts is best handled by out of state company's who specialize in it, they have the equipment and expertise to handle a disaster of this magnitude and do it quickly and without gouging.. Yes the local guys with dump trucks want the work but they are not equipped


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