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Mayors: Unrestricted Access to Barrier Island Sections to Resume Jan. 7

Ortley Beach the only neighborhood which will not be open

Unfettered access to barrier island neighborhoods of Brick and Toms River, as well as Seaside Heights, will resume Jan. 7, officials announced Friday.

Brick Mayor Stephen C. Acropolis and Toms River Mayor Thomas Kelaher both signed a formal request to Gov. Chris Christie's office certifying that public utilities and roadways would be restored by that date.

The request was also signed by Seaside Heights mayor William Akers, who did not attend the ceremony because he was attending the funeral of long-time Ocean County Sheriff William Polhemus.

The access plan, if approved by Christie, will allow full public access to all of the barrier island neighborhoods in Brick and Toms River, as well as Seaside Heights, with the exception or Ortley Beach.

Roadblocks at the Mantoloking and Thomas A. Mathis bridges across Barnegat Bay will be removed, and curfew restrictions will end.

Residents will be able to move back into their homes full-time.

"This day has been a long time coming," said Acropolis."When this first happened, the goal in our three towns, which represent approximately 200,000 residents in Ocean County, was to get the residents back as quickly as possible. I believe we've reached that goal."

Acropolis credited Brick Police Chief Nils R. Bergquist and Toms River Police Chief Michael Mastronardy with helping to manage safety and security during the cleanup of Superstorm Sandy, and allowing the restoration of services to progress as quickly as it did.

Kelaher said residents will have to make their own decisions as to whether their homes are habitable.

"As far as we're concerned, they can move back in full time, part time, whatever they want to do," said Kelaher.

Kelaher said Ortley Beach will not be included in the repopulation plan because some streets are still non-existant or covered with sand, and utilities – including natural gas meters and water mains – are still not repaired in some areas of the neighborhood.

No date was given as to when that neighborhood may be ready for repopulation.

For Acropolis, the repopulation plan is a major step for the entire area.

"Growing up here at the Shore, one of the things you do is, you get in your car and take a ride," he said. "And when you get in your car to take a ride, you go to the beach."

Michelle Blamble December 23, 2012 at 01:11 PM
Ortley Joe - there is still the copper pipe in your house!
MP Flood December 23, 2012 at 11:22 PM
right,just looking to get my parents out of hotel room.There is No F***ing Reason.Sewer pumps are pumping,Gas mains all set,House passed electric inspector,cheese steaks for sale,Join me on the 26 th,for if we dont walk on city hall.Who are we,really?
Mark December 24, 2012 at 12:13 AM
Mike, The "Sand Police" are overstepping their statutory powers by denying homeowners access to their properties. They are getting too comfortable in doing this. I'm very surprised d that no-one has gone to court over this blatant abuse of authority!
No namer December 27, 2012 at 02:29 PM
Ryan.... The police depts that had police on the island are regular duty officers. Any over time caused will be refunded by FEMA . Thanks !!!
1stcav December 27, 2012 at 03:29 PM
THEY are protecting themselves from lawsuits , it's called cover your a$$ from Boss Hog..... death do to giving a homeowner access and they in-turn do the unthinkable & die on THERE watch....TR has no clue how to handle this beach community, except to send them their tax & sewer bills in a timely fashion..Please make sure you have a mail box constructed so you CAN be billed...Thanks TR...NOT !

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