Fire Marshal Stops Morrisons Project Hearing Due To Overcrowding

Dated: 01/08/2020

Views: 96

Photo courtesy of Jack Reynolds

Developer Christopher Vernon will have to wait another month to appear before the Beach Haven Land Use Board as Monday night’s meeting was shut down by the Ocean County fire marshal due to a crowd that exceeded the meeting room’s allowable capacity.

As a result, Vernon’s presentation to build a 102-room hotel at the Morrison’s restaurant site has been carried over to Monday, Feb. 3, 6 p.m., at Surflight Theatre.

The 82-seat meeting room has an allowable maximum capacity of 100. But with a large standing room-only crowd spilling into the hallway, the number of people was approximately 135, according to Police Sgt. James Lemmo.

The decision to close the meeting was made by William Hollingsworth, an investigator for the fire marshal. Hollingsworth was not on-site, but he was contacted by the Beach Haven Police Department due to overcrowing concerns. After discussing the situation with officers, he put a stop to proceedings.

His decision was made approximately one hour after the meeting was called to order at 5:30 p.m. However, Vernon’s presentation never began as the board took a break for a 15-minute closed door session and then reconvened in public for reorganization business, such as reappointing Bonnie Lenhard and Ken Yuha as president and vice president, respectively, as well as Frank Little as engineer and Stuart Snyder as attorney.

Then Keith Davis, an attorney for a group of homeowners who filed suit against the Morrison’s project, addressed the board, noting that many people standing in the hallway was a violation of the Open Public Meetings Act.

“Some of them are my clients and they don’t have the benefit of seeing the exhibits and being able to listen,” he said. “Everybody has a right to be in this room.”

Davis noted that when the borough council held its regular meeting in October to vote on a developers agreement with Vernon, it was held at Surflight.

“The board should have known this was going to generate intensive public scrutiny,” he said. “Doing this in a smaller room like this makes no sense.”

After the meeting, resident John Harvey, who raised many issues over the development on his Engage Beach Haven website, said numerous people flew up from Florida to attend the meeting.

“There were others who drove three hours,” he said. “There is no way this meeting should have been held here.”

Vernon seemed unfazed by the meeting’s postponement. “No big deal. I don’t mind waiting another month,” he said.

Jacqueline Fife, land use board secretary, said board members had discussed possibly moving the meeting to another location, but decided to keep it at borough hall. She said that because the meeting room is located in a newer building, it can accommodate video presentations and has other amenities to aid in proceedings.

Article courtesy of— Eric Englund and The Sandpaper

Looking to buy or sell a home on LBI? Click here

Blog author image

Kim Pileggi

Greetings from Long Beach Island! I am a full time real estate agent specializing in LBI sales and summer rentals, servicing all of LBI and the surrounding mainland communities. I have earned several ....

Latest Blog Posts

Barnegat NJ Farmers Market Now Open

Don't forget that Thursday is your chance to get some farm fresh local fruits & vegetables at the outdoors Barnegat Farmer's Market......located at the fenced field opposite the firehouse on

Read More

LBI Real Estate Activity Report

The real estate market has been very active. Mortgage rates are low, inventory is low, demand is high. Please take a moment and read my real estate weekly activity report for recent information

Read More

Staying Healthy In The New Normal

Jumping into a different routine can have some hiccups. Here are 10 quick tips to help you stay physically and mentally healthy while you navigate your new remote workdays.Eat when you’re .

Read More

Summer Solstice On Long Beach Island

SUMMER IS HERE! With almost all our attention focused on the current worldwide situation, it’s a good time to get back-to-nature for a moment and appreciate that we are another quarter of the

Read More