In Neptune City: Two Guys Site Discussed for Possible Redevelopment

By PETE WALTON

The Neptune City Borough Council is reviewing two reports from its new planner about redevelopment.

The council heard a presentation from municipal planner Stuart Wiser of ARH Associates at its meeting earlier this week.

Wiser outlined the proposals, one of which addressed the vicinity of the vacant former Two Guys building and its possible designation as an area in need of redevelopment.

“The process will take years, but we need to start somewhere to enhance our aging infrastructure, ratables, and quality of life for our residents in the long term,” said Council President Pamela Renee, the Democrat candidate for mayor in the November general election.

Though Wiser said he did not believe the borough would need to take private property by condemnation, Councilman Andrew Wardell, the Republican candidate for mayor, said he was concerned that the possibility of the council using its power of eminent domain was even being mentioned.

“I’m not opposed to a redevelopment plan, but this one could cover one-quarter of a mile in our small town,” Wardell said. “These proposals are too broad, with no specific detail.”

The council, which Democrats control by a 4-2 margin, has the power to decide whether or not to proceed with any rehabilitation or redevelopment plans.

Also at its meeting, the council approved a contract with the Monmouth County Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals for trap, neuter and release services to address the borough’s ongoing problem with feral cats.

The society will trap feral cats in the borough, neuter them and return them to the community. Any kittens will be offered for adoption. Wardell said the SPCA routinely finds homes for all the kittens at its facility in Eatontown.

Wardell said the council’s special services committee, which he chairs, sought to expand Neptune City’s relationship with the no-kill animal welfare organization.

“I reached out to Chief [Ross] Licitra of the Monmouth County ASPCA, who serves on the [Monmouth County] Board of Health with me, to develop a humane way of lowering the feral cat numbers,” Wardell said.

Renee, who serves with Wardell on the special services committee, said she has been trying to get the trap, neuter and release program into Neptune City “for years.”

“I’m glad we were finally able to work together to approve it,” Renee said. “It will take several years to start to notice a difference, but I’m glad we’re finally able to get started.”

Wardell said the number of feral cats will decrease over time but there will be an immediate benefit as cats are removed and stop annoying residents with their fighting and associated noises.

The council accepted with regret the resignation of Al Jardine as full-time tax collector, deputy clerk, assistant to the chief financial officer and office manager. Jardine is leaving to take a position outside the borough. He agreed to stay on as part-time tax collector while a replacement is sought.

After previously serving in the borough police department and the Monmouth County Prosecutor’s Office, Scott Samis returns to Neptune City as the new school resource officer.

Matthew Pelch was appointed as a borough firefighter, and John Pietrunti was named to the fire police force.

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