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Stable Taxes Temporary, Parking “Challenge” Not

Thursday’s Coast Star story “Mayor deems 2016 ‘the year of construction’ in Belmar” , reposted here with the permission of the Coast Star, has a few omissions I wanted to comment on but haven’t had time to until now.

In it we are told:

Doherty’s first priority of the new year will be to keep taxes stable, noting that the borough has not seen a tax increase in the five years he has been mayor. “I look forward to introducing a budget for 2016 that has no tax increase for the sixth year in a row,” the mayor said.

Furthermore, Doherty:

looks forward to continuing the progress the borough has made over the last couple of years “while keeping taxes flat” and unchanged for what will be the sixth year.  

He apparently didn’t mention to his interviewer that he hopes to leave his job as mayor at the end of this year and let his successors inherit the job of paying off all the bonds, including the millions just borrowed for the pavilions.  After promising that all the borrowing won’t lead to tax increases he hopes not to be around to make sure that promise is kept.

Another thing I want to discuss in today’s post is what the mayor said about the “challenge” of finding parking at the marina for all the people who plan to visit it amid 2016’s construction and dredging activities there.

From the article:

“Parking is going to be a significant challenge,” Mayor Doherty said. “A lot of the marina is going to be under construction, or [it’s] going to be taken up for dredge spoils, so parking specifically at the marina is going to be a challenge.”

Come summertime, Mayor Doherty said the borough will have to work with what is available at that time with respect to parking.

“Construction is obviously a temporary inconvenience but it’s going to be challenging for people to park in Belmar this coming summer at the marina,” he said.

Offering possible solutions to the foreseen parking issue in the borough, the mayor said he encourages people to continue using public transportation into Belmar, ride their bikes and/or walk to the marina.


Belmar’s marina parking plan:

Just like the seafood festival parking fiasco, the marina parking “challenge” is not some unexpected thing that just sort of happened to us.  Belmar’s  leadership and citizenry always understood that lack of parking is a serious problem here and that increases in the availability of parking must accompany any increased development.

The concern about parking for the marina was addressed when the Borough amended the 2003 Seaport Redevelopment Plan in 2012 to include the marina.Screen Shot 2016-01-09 at 1.59.11 PMPage 6:Screen Shot 2016-01-09 at 2.01.54 PMPage 7:Screen Shot 2016-01-09 at 3.34.16 PM

This is not a wish list.  This plan…with these parking requirements…was passed, as the cover indicates, by ordinance.  While the mayor has announced his intention to introduce a new plan, this is still the plan that is in place and was in place when the agreements with Chefs were being made.  “Phase 1” of the plan has never been completed.

Increased parking, including the much-needed parking deck, was suppose to be part of the “initial phase” of “phase 1”.  The plan also saw the need for satellite parking for the marina and the beach during peak seasons.  With the amended redevelopment plans encompassing the marina, the satellite parking was planned for the party boat users.

But when asked about parking accommodations at Chef International’s 2013 and 2014 Planning Board hearings for the marina restaurant, representatives pointed to the same limited satellite parking areas that were already earmarked for party boat customers.  Understand that Chefs is undertaking major redevelopment in town with plans to accommodate hundreds of customers simultaneously at each of their three facilities, Jack Bakers at the marina, 9th Ave Pier and of course Connolly Station (or whatever it ends up being called.)  All three are in the redevelopment zone.  During peak seasons it could require parking for four or five hundred cars more than the original redevelopment plan envisioned the need for.  Currently, just for boat users and 9th Ave Pier customers, the marina parking lot is regularly filled to capacity.

Page 17 of the redevelopment plan indicates developers like Chefs  share responsibility for parking even when the development is being done on municipal property:Screen Shot 2016-01-09 at 3.41.21 PM

The mayor is asking marina users, many of whom have paid thousands of dollars in slip rental charges, to walk or ride bikes to the marina and at the same time letting Chefs completely off the hook for providing any parking for the hundreds of customers they hope to attract for the next 40 some odd years.

We are told in the Coast Star story this is only a 2016 problem.  But the construction will only cause us to lose a hundred or so spots and those spots, according to the site plans, aren’t really coming back anyway.  And the dewatering of the dredge material is not taking place in any of the regular parking areas.

The important thing to think about though, is that in 2016 there won’t be any Jack Bakers customers yet.  The real parking crisis will start when the construction is over, the restaurant is opened, and hundreds of the hungry and thirsty pour in to the marina property looking to park in an already crowded parking lot.

car-phile-up“Now where did I leave my car?”


Important disclaimer:

 The absence in this post of objection to any of the other statements from the Doherty interview should not be construed as this writer’s acceptance of those statements as being true or accurate.  Furthermore, this writer reserves the right to kvetch about other parts of the interview at some later date.


  1. A Voter 2 wrote:

    The bike pic needs to be changed to hoverboard locking stands with Free charging station, and a FD sub station.

    Sunday, January 10, 2016 at 9:50 am | Permalink
  2. South Side wrote:

    Exactly right, Thank You Dave.

    Sunday, January 10, 2016 at 10:24 am | Permalink
  3. Belmar Voter wrote:

    I hope Judy Rokosak on the Planning Board and engineer on the job John Palus read. Palus tells her they would probably add more. this and looks very hard at bicycle photo. Doing her job ( and perhaps using a crystal ball 0 Judy was the only planning board member at the Ja. 12,2015 hearing to ask if there would be bicycle racks. Doing the math based on peak seson seating on pier and restaurant, figure on find an area for about 400 bicycles.

    Sunday, January 10, 2016 at 10:26 am | Permalink
  4. ms.perspicacity wrote:

    What about the accidents caused by tipsy bicycle riders, like the party boat guys and folks who tank up at the proposed road house? Anyway, I doubt that many people will ride bicycles with fishing gear hooked onto their bikes, also adding little trailers to said transport to carry their catch. Next “story”, please. Possibly someone can ask N.J. Transit to offer special discount fish-and-eat travel packages to Belmar.

    Sunday, January 10, 2016 at 11:09 am | Permalink
  5. Just Passing Through wrote:

    Great idea #4 Ms. P

    Sunday, January 10, 2016 at 11:36 am | Permalink
  6. Belmar Independent wrote:

    Thank you Dave:
    More than once, this borough lost a great opportunity for reason, common sense and accountability by not voting you to council.
    This clear look of a parking crisis made possible by an all-to-happy to please an arrogant leader council speaks to the folly of an electorate with blinders. Sad, that the other ( which include hundreds of thousands of visitors will need to pay the price.

    Sunday, January 10, 2016 at 6:11 pm | Permalink
  7. Big ones wrote:

    this past summer approx 50 slips were vacant, about 500k in revenue to the town.Boaters are leaving due to no parking,and marina harassment, town is more concerned with 90k lease fee from 9ave pier. if you go by the marina now on a nice day when the head boats go out almost all the parking is gone and the pier is closed and very few boats in the marina, Have to get a side car for my bicycle

    Sunday, January 10, 2016 at 7:07 pm | Permalink
  8. Anonymous wrote:

    Misleading and misguiding the real Belmar voting public regarding our historical lack of parking is just another MAD MAN storyboard. Misconstruing the obvious truth will not garner the support thats needed to beat Tom Arnone. Historical records show that for the last three years no one has been minding the store in Belmar.

    Presidential, Gubernatorial and Freeholder election winds of war are brewing; Public beware the Ides of March are upon us.

    Sunday, January 10, 2016 at 7:46 pm | Permalink
  9. Eugene Creamer wrote:

    the regime doesn’t care about your parking problems …. life is good on Inlet Terrace where driveways lead to the rear …. with about 6 off-street parking spaces …. jockeying the cars is a minor inconvenience …. just create another crisis and punish the Belmar common folk until they go along with a costly parking remedy

    Sunday, January 10, 2016 at 11:09 pm | Permalink
  10. Anonymous wrote:

    What idiots would pay more taxes so the visitors can be lured down to the next big event snarling traffic and making your weekends off miserable from March through December?

    Let the redeveloper pay for parking. Urban is as Urban does.

    Monday, January 11, 2016 at 8:30 am | Permalink
  11. DICKI DO & THE DONTS wrote:

    It’s the “ART OF THE DEAL”, not the “Art of the Dopes in Belmar”.

    Monday, January 11, 2016 at 8:39 am | Permalink
  12. Eugene Creamer wrote:

    the only bikes parked at Chef’s Roadhouse Bar would be Harleys.

    Monday, January 11, 2016 at 9:43 am | Permalink
  13. Planet Belmar wrote:

    #12. You mean the mayor’s plans to attract the yacht and sailing elites will end up with D’Jais on the river?

    Monday, January 11, 2016 at 1:44 pm | Permalink
  14. Historian wrote:

    I am currently working on a new book that chronicles the nasty dealings of inventor Thomas Edison with the town ( a political cesspool) named after him in Middlesex County. It is no surprise that the architect of ruin in Belmar, Matthew J. Doherty had his humble beginnings in that very cesspool. In later chapters, we discover the Lombardi Brothers, sole owners of Lombardi Realty, sole owners od Lombardi Restaurants who are private and sole owners of YOU GUESSED IT Chef’s International. Needless to say, it will be Sopranoesk and not for children. I have already been contacted by Hollywood whom are insisting the part of Maggie be played by Madonna. I seriously object to a musical. Comedy maybe bur not a musical. All I need is A.L. Weber writing” Don’t cry for me Bayonne City”.

    Monday, January 11, 2016 at 4:05 pm | Permalink

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