By John Burton
SEA BRIGHT — Residents and property owners will be permitted to enter the borough with contractors starting Friday.
Mayor Dina Long and the Borough Council decided Thursday afternoon during an emergency meeting to begin allowing people back into the borough, 12 days after Super Storm Sandy roared through and devastated the town.
According to Long, people will be able to enter the borough – by way of the Rumson-Sea Bright Bridge – as of noon Friday, Nov. 9. Police will continue to allow residents access until 3 p.m. All must depart by 5 p.m.
Residents and property owners can be accompanied by construction contractors to assess the damage and others who may wish to assist the residents, Long said.
“No one will be permitted access without proof of residency,” she said.
However, family members, friends of residents, and contractors who are unaccompanied by residents will be allowed entry as long as they can present some evidence of who they represent, such as a letter from the property owner, the mayor said.
During Saturday and Sunday, Nov. 10-11, people will be able to start coming into Sea Bright at 8 a.m., with last entry again at 3 p.m.
The borough’s curfew will continue to be 5 p.m. daily, she said.
The schedule, including the curfew, will remain, “until further notice,” Long said.
Police will be at the access point keeping a tally and checking the identification of all those entering and exiting, Police Chief John Sorrentino said.
“The other points of entry,” such as the Capt. Joseph Azzolina Bridge, in Highlands and Ocean Avenue/state Highway 36, will “remain secure,” and out-of-bounds for residents and others, Long said.
The Rumson Bridge is scheduled to have its mechanical operations inspected and tested between 9 and 9:30 a.m. Friday, according to Long.
With people beginning to look toward repairing and, hopefully, returning to their homes, local officials acknowledged additional help will be necessary to provide inspections to ensure the structures are safe.
The council agreed to allow construction official Ed Wheeler to hire additional, certified inspectors to meet that need. He can hire as many as six part-time inspectors, who could earn up to $35 an hour and work up to 20 hours per week.
Wheeler told the mayor and council that under the state’s uniform construction code all commercial properties will require a Certificate of Continued Occupancy. That means permits and inspections from building, electric, plumbing and fire inspectors will be needed.
All residential rentals will need a Certificate of Occupancy (CO) from the housing inspector before being inhabited.
Single family homes, which weren’t damaged and don’t need construction work, will not have to have a new CO, Wheeler said.
The inspections will have to be completed and structure will have to meet state standards before CCOs and COs can be issued, Wheeler said.
During Thursday’s emergency meeting at the Cecile F. Norton Community Center on Ocean Avenue, the mayor and council considered whether to waive the cost of the permits. After considerable debate, they opted to not take any action on the issue at this time.
A COs for a residential rental unit is $35 each and $100 for single-family homes.
Construction permits range from $24 to $1,000, depending on the size of the structure and the work being done, Wheeler said.
Sea Bright has a population of approximately 1,500. Long estimated that only about 10 percent of the borough’s 1,000 buildings are habitable at this time.