Reconstruction of Superstorm Sandy-damaged homes throughout Toms River is permitted on Sundays, according to a resolution passed by the Township Council.
The change, which allows for reconstruction work on such homes between 9 a.m. and 6 p.m.—a time previously prohibited—was made to speed up the pace of recovery and help those property owners who rely on weekend free time to complete projects, officials said.
“I think we need to do whatever we have to do to get people back into their homes,” said council Vice President Maria Maruca, who represents the barrier island residents hard-hit by Sandy.
Though the council unanimously passed the resolution, which applies to all township sections include Ortley Beach, Green Island and Silverton, some residents questioned whether it will lead to disturbances.
“Have you asked the people in Ortley what they think?” resident Dennis Galante asked the council. “Do they want this to happen?”
Ortley resident Kathy Mastreberti, who since the storm was able to return to her home, expressed her displeasure with the change.
“I think it mostly impacts the barrier island,” she said. “I object to it because I’d like to see one day where we see peace and quiet in our homes.”
The change is “not just Ortley-centric,” said council President George Wittmann. “There are a lot of people who need to rebuild their homes and this will facilitate that.”
Maruca noted that the increased permitted construction hours will be a temporary situation.
“We’re going to revisit this probably the first of the year or this spring,” she said.
But Mastreberti said that major construction activities with heavy equipment including jackhammers and nail guns are “very disturbing” and she wanted to consult with homeowners associations before the council vote.
“To me, its a reasonable request,” Wittmann said. “What are they supposed to do? Only work on Saturdays?”
“I’m sure if it was next to your home you wouldn’t appreciate it either,” Mastreberti said.