Ortley Beach residents are growing increasingly frustrated as re-entry into the Jersey shore beach town continues on a 3-day rotation. Residents of the Ortley Beach section of Toms River Township, tell rootshed.com the limited re-entry is poorly organized and extremely frustrating. Some have still only been permitted back to their properties a total of three times since Hurricane Sandy hit–what will be a full month ago tomorrow (November 29). “Their reentry plan has been a disaster,” full-time Ortley Beach resident Jackie “Cookie” Romero tells us.
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The Ortley Beach re-entry plan, laid out by Toms River Township officials, allows full and part-time residents to drive their personal vehicles into town. “One vehicle allowed with as many people you can fit and sitting on a line for three hours to go over the bridge,” Romero, whose house must be demolished, explains. Residents are only permitted every third day depending on where they live and only for a specific seven hour period. But given the long wait times to get into town, residents are left with just a few short hours every week at their properties. “We were lucky ours was a two hour wait. We arrived at seven and got in at nine, my neighbor not so lucky they had to wait three hours,” Romero says. It’s an extremely frustrating process on top of an already trying time for people like the Romeros whose house has been deemed too structurally damaged to be salvaged.
Another Ortley resident, William McKinnon says the Sandy damage to his house has only been made worse due to the limited access. He laid out his complaints in a letter to the editor published by Asbury Park Press today:
“My Toms River-registered contractor (apparently a state license is not good enough on the barrier island) spent two hours waiting in the same line. Two hours of the work day wasted, when the work day is limited to between 8 a.m. and 3 p.m., and under Toms River’s rules, the contractor can only work every third day…And what did I find when I finally got to my property? A rainbow of mold that could have been addressed two weeks ago. A problem that could have been easily addressed has gone nuclear. The only barrier to recovery in Ortley Beach from Sandy is Toms River and its pathetic example of disastrous disaster management.”
Storm debris that’s been collecting on Ortley Beach curbs is scheduled to start being picked up today according to a message on the Toms River Township website. Residents are asked not to use the Township robo cans for storm debris as they are not compatible with the special trucks being used to pick up loose bulk items.