Brick Township officials on Tuesday night approved an ordinance that will fund a dredging project in a neighborhood lagoon, the cost of which will be assessed to homeowners who live on the waterway.
The township partnered with the residents who live along the Nejecho Lagoon, off Mantoloking Road, to plan the first project of its kind in town. Brick officials successfully became the second municipality in New Jersey to fund and adopt a township-wide dredge survey plan, eliminating the expensive and time-consuming permitting process that had long been required to dredge residential lagoons that have led, in some cases, to a lack of maintenance. Residents, in turn, agreed to pay for the physical removal of sand – an arrangement that any lagoon neighborhood can now make.
In the case of the Nejecho Lagoon, which runs behind the aptly-named Lagoon Drive, the residents favored an approach where the township would also handle the bid solicitation and hiring of a contractor. While this is a more expensive option, the residents did not have the burden of going through the contracting process as a group. The township will, in turn, assess residents along the lagoon their portion of the cost, depending on how many feet of lagoon frontage they have.
Councilman Art Halloran said the project will likely be completed in June, before the dredging season is closed in the area due to winter flounder spawning during the warm months.
Township Business Administrator Joanne Bergin said that when a dredging project is being sought by a group of residents, they can schedule a meeting at town hall and begin the process.
“We will only move forward with majority consent,” said Bergin.
Under state law, the township is authorized to perform local assessments for infrastructure such as lagoon maintenance. Effectively, the assessment law prevents a small number of homeowners from the ability to veto a project. A resident who does not pay their portion of the dredging fee would see the assessment sold at a tax sale as a lien if it is not paid.
In the case of the forthcoming project, the sand that is taken from the lagoon will be moved to Windward Beach Park to shore up the beach there with fresh sand. The sand has already been environmentally tested and meets all state standards for beach sand, officials have said.
The township council voted unanimously to bond $300,000 to fund the project, which will be assessed to about a dozen homeowners.