The plan to allow Toms River barrier island residents — except for those in Ortley Beach — repopulate the area on Jan. 7 received approval from Gov. Chris Christie's office on Friday afternoon.
Toms River Office of Emergency Management coordinator Paul Daley confirmed Friday afternoon that the governor's office has given the go ahead for the repopulation plan.
Earlier Friday, Daley and other township officials were confident that the authorization would be given in time for the Jan. 7 repopulation date.
"It's still on track," Daley said Friday morning. "We're just waiting for the governor."
Daley said that the township has met all of the criteria, such as providing utility service, to allow for repopulation.
“We also had a meeting with the four utility companies on the barrier island, and they have assured us that all of the utilities will be ready for use on Monday,” Mayor Thomas Kelaher said in a statement.
Chief of Police Michael Mastronardy said Friday morning that receiving the approval in time for the repopulation should not be an issue.
"We don't anticipate that being a problem," he said. "We think we're prepared and ready. We're ready to get people back to their homes."
A heavy police presence, including security cameras, will remain in the area, according to the township.
Under the plan, residents may return to their homes on a full-time basis. However, a curfew for residents will be in effect from 6 p.m. to 5 a.m., and access to the ocean beach will be restricted to emergency personnel and those employed in recovery efforts only, officials from barrier island communities have said.
Township Business Administrator Paul Shives said that officials are communicating with the state Office of Emergency Management regarding the certification but are unsure when it will be granted Friday. An announcement will be posted on the township website when the process is completed, he said.
The mayors of Brick Township, Toms River and Seaside Heights have announced re-population plans in a joint request to Gov. Chris Christie to allow residents access back into their homes.
The North Beach area of Toms River, all of Brick and single-family homes in Seaside Heights were included in a formal joint request to re-populate their towns on the same day, on Jan. 7.
A meeting of utility company representatives was held Friday morning to track the progress of repairs in Ortley. Shives said that details from the meeting will be released to the township website once some information is confirmed.