By NANETTE LoBIONDO GALLOWAY
VENTNOR – The city introduced an ordinance Thursday, March 26 that would permit the city engineer to review and issue street opening permits on an administrative basis. Ordinance 2020-006 would allow City Engineer and Public Works Director Ed Stinson to review hardship conditions at certain properties to determine if a street opening permit should be issued.
The normal process for obtaining a street opening permit on recently paved areas that are currently under a five-year moratorium is to apply to the Board of Commissioners for a waiver, which requires testimony before the board and a public hearing before a vote can be taken to approve the request. The process can delay construction more than a few weeks and possibly months.
The board has granted several waivers for street opening permits over the past year, mostly for new construction and renovations of homes on beach blocks and along the boardwalk.
In every instance, commissioners said it was appropriate to replace the aging water and sewer connections, especially for pre-existing buildings that are being razed to make way for much larger homes that need upgraded service.
Most municipalities impose five-year moratoriums on street openings on streets that have been recently paved.
In some instances, the city has required homeowners to replace aging pipes to prevent breaks in the future.
“We have a lot of old connections with sewer and water lines, some are lead goosenecks,” Commissioner of Public Works Lance Landgraf said at a meeting in January.
Landgraf said the city has identified certain locations, and “when we see them come in for new construction, we ask them to replace it, to get newer connections that don’t break,” he said.
Stinson said most of the city’s older homes have smaller 1-inch diameter service lines that would not be able to handle the increased flows when larger homes are built.
“This is proactive, rather than reactive,” Landgraf said, “and will save us problems down the road with breaks.”
Mayor Beth Holtzman called the ordinance a “no-brainer.”
Street openings must be repaved curb to curb.
A public hearing will be held at the next Board of Commissioners meeting, 5:30 p.m. April 9.
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