Neptune will hire an independent traffic engineer to look into the chronic parking problem in Ocean Grove, particularly during the summer months.
The Township Committee passed a resolution at this week’s meeting to hire independent traffic consultant CME Associates, based in Howell Township, for an amount not to exceed $5,000. The consultant will provide the results of its study to the governing body and to the newly-created parking task force.
“We are not experts and we need somebody. I think it’s a necessity,” Committeeman Randy Bishop said.
Deputy Mayor Michael Brantley, who has always supported hiring an independent consultant, said he is pleased with the move.
“(CME) will give us an independent evaluation and the Township Committee will give the marching orders,” he said.
A special ten-member ad hoc Ocean Grove Parking task Force was created in July to look into ways to alleviate Ocean Grove’s summer parking problems. The task force, which also has two non-voting advisors, will meet on or before Aug. 11 and is to report to the Township Committee during every third meeting.
Committeewoman Carol Rizzo said CME Associates will not only examine the parking problem but also “look at the unintended consequences” of implementing any actions, such as installing parking meters or putting a time limit on parking in the historic district’s downtown area.
“One option may not be better than another,” she said.
Bishop said there will be “reconciliation and discussions” at the study moves forward.
The parking task force now consists of two members from the Township Committee (Carol Rizzo and Nicholas Williams); two at-large members (Craig Woodland and Ray DeFaria, both Ocean Grove residents); two Chamber of Commerce members (Raymond Huizenga and Steve Mandeville; two Ocean Grove Homeowners Association members (Joyce Klein and Richard Williams), and two Ocean Grove Camp Meeting Association members (Peter Herr and Douglas Arbert).
The two non-voting advisors to the parking task force are Township Engineer Leanne Hoffmann and Police Department Traffic Officer Lt. Michael Zarro.