By Lauren Wanko
It’s a step closer to normalcy for homeowners in the Normandy Beach section of Brick Township. Portions of the residential beach open Saturday. Public works crews today built a walkway for this weekend’s beach-goers.
“We are thrilled. I texted both my children and my husband this morning to let them know the good news,” said Brick Township resident Carol Favata.
All of Brick Township’s public beaches opened over the Memorial Day weekend but sections of the residential beaches have been closed since the storm.
“We hadn’t experienced this summer shoaling, the sand collection that we typically see. It widens our beaches this time of year. In the last few weeks, we’ve started to see that deposit of sand that’s widening the beaches and making it safer for the public to be there,” said Brick Township Municipal Engineer Elissa Commins.
Other sections of residential beaches remain closed like Camp Osborn. During Superstorm Sandy the community was engulfed in flames.
“It was a gas-fed fire. I believe there were 12 of them and it burned for days,” Commins said.
There are more than 100 homes within the community. Now piles of debris replace areas where many homes once stood. Camp Osborn is owned by three different entities.
“Camp Osborn would not be permitted to reconstruct as they existed prior to the storm, simply because of the density and the safety issues. Quite frankly to have all those houses so close together was a fire hazard. I know there is a team of architects that has actually volunteered and has come up with several redevelopment plans and is working closely with Camp Osborn on something that they can agree upon,” Commins said.
Local business owners are also feeling the effects of the devastated Camp Osborn. Charlie’s Farm Market reopened seven months after the storm.
“We’re taking a hit. A lot of our kids that worked for us came out of Camp Osborn and had houses that are just destroyed and gone. So staffing has been a little issue this year and we’re all working on it,” said Charlie’s Farm Market owner Peter Kupper.
In Brick Township, Sandy caused an estimated $18 million in infrastructure damage alone and 8,500 homes were damaged by the superstorm. The township built a temporary berm along the beach.
“Our temporary berm is a sand castle berm. One storm, several waves, it’s in danger of collapse. We need a dune system, we need a shoreline protection system,” Commins said.
The township is still working to secure easements from oceanfront homeowners and local officials are working with the Army Corps to discuss plans on the dune protection system.