Seaside Heights is planning to seek emergency authorization from the state to replace a steadily degrading sea wall that is being undermined daily on the borough’s bayfront.
The location in question is situated to the south of the Dock Outfitters building, off its sand-and-gravel parking lot. While the Dock Outfitters is a private business, it is operated under a long-term lease and it, as well as the parking area and land around it, is owned by Seaside Heights. In recent years, a rock and concrete mixture that has been holding up the parking lot and, ultimately, the roadways surrounding the property has begun to be undermined by erosion.
“We need to apply under some sort of emergency basis because if we wait for the normal process to unfold, it could be a couple years,” said Borough Administrator Christopher Vaz. “I don’t know if that area will hold up for a couple years.”
So far, the borough has been taking the traditional track in applying for state permits, and officials have planned to build a living shoreline – essentially, a breakwater consisting of natural features such as oyster shells – to contain wave action and stabilize the shoreline.
As it currently stands, large asphalt and concrete boulders are chipping off and falling into the bay, creating a dangerous environment and making it risky to park close to the shoreline. The rocks date back to the construction of the original Thomas A. Mathis bridge and the subsequent construction of the “loop” that merges Route 37 with Route 35 and Seaside Park local roads in the 1950s.
“Our plan was to build a living shoreline there to prevent future erosion, but time is of the essence there so we really need them to step up their review process,” said Vaz. “A piece of the project is in Seaside Park. Although we don’t need to do that piece, but it makes sense to do that too.”
Seaside Park officials recently discussed the matter at their own council meeting and signaled support for funding the small portion of the living shoreline that would be located in their municipality, but no formal action has been taken.