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Middletown officials support coastal resilience planning study

MIDDLETOWN – Members of the Middletown Township Committee have passed a resolution that supports the Monmouth County Raritan and Sandy Hook Coastal Resilience Planning Study.

Coastal resilience is defined as the ability of a community to bounce back after events such as hurricanes, coastal storms and flooding.

On Dec. 16, Mayor Tony Perry, Committeeman Kevin Settembrino, Committeeman Rick Hibell and Committeewoman Patricia Snell voted “yes” on a motion to support the study. Deputy Mayor Anthony Fiore was absent.

According to the resolution, Naval Weapons Station Earle, Monmouth County and the communities in the Military Influence Area worked together to prepare a Joint Land Use Study which was completed in December 2017.

The land use study was the first of its kind nationally to include coastal resilience as a major component, according to the resolution.

According to the resolution, the study resulted in nine resilience recommendations including: coordinate efforts for naturalized beach erosion/shoreline protection projects protecting Navy and community waterfronts; develop a marsh and dune restoration plan in coordination with partners to determine public facilities that could be suitable locations; and investigate potential joint storm water management improvement projects.

Monmouth County received a grant from the U.S. Department of Defense, Office of Economic Adjustment, to continue working with NWS Earle and the county’s Bayshore communities to develop a coastal resilience plan, according to the resolution.

The Monmouth County Division of Planning – the lead county agency for this study – invited representatives of coastal communities, county, state and federal agencies, academic institutions and non-governmental organizations to serve on a Technical Advisory Committee to review and select 10 to 12 potential public sites for resilience projects for which concept plans would be drafted, according to the resolution.

Eleven sites were selected and four of those sites are in Middletown. The project team met with municipal representatives to review the concept plan and give additional insight and input into the plan development, according to the resolution.

The Township Committee supports the concept plans drafted through the Monmouth County Raritan/Sandy Hook Bay Coastal Resilience Planning Study for the sites in Middletown, according to the resolution.

Sanyogita Chavan, Middletown’s director of planning, said the project sites span eight municipalities.

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