The Bradley Beach Borough Council held a special meeting this week to consider an appeal of a Land Use Board decision.
Lawyers and representatives of the parties involved arranged their schedules to be present for the meeting on Tuesday at 6:30 p.m. Mayor Larry Fox and Council President Meredith DeMarco were absent.
Borough Attorney Greg Cannon conducted the meeting in the absence of Fox and DeMarco.
Council members Jane DeNoble, Al Gubitosi and John Weber were present. Before the appeal was considered, Gubitosi made a statement relating to his participation in the consideration of the appeal of the application filed by 501 Lake Terrace LLC.
“Just a few hours ago, it was brought to my attention that one of the objectors in this case made a contribution to my political campaign three years ago,” Gubitosi said. “I honestly did not recall this.”
The councilman said he immediately called Cannon, the municipal attorney, to ask his advice.
“Mr. Cannon told me that there is no legal conflict issue,” Gubitosi said. “However, I believe the appearance of a conflict is a conflict.”
Gubitosi said he believed he could be impartial on the subject, but decided to recuse himself from participating.
Though DeNoble and Weber were prepared to consider the appeal, the absence of Fox and DeMarco meant that a quorum of the governing body was not present, and the appeal could not be heard.
“I found out the mayor was not going to show up at about 3:30 this afternoon,” DeNoble said. “When I sat down at this podium, I was informed that Meredith was on vacation. I apologize to the residents of Bradley Beach.”
Newark Avenue resident Allen Rapaport, who objected to the application, addressed the council at a public comment session after the appeal was postponed.
“What an embarrassment it is to be a member of this borough, that our mayor and council president could not have the respect for the Newark Avenue neighbors to be here,” Rapaport said. “Everybody showed up, but the mayor could not find the time, along with his friend and council president. Once again, another embarrassment to the borough of Bradley Beach. This is wrong.”
Cannon said he would consult with all five members of the governing body to try and schedule another meeting to hear the appeal before an Aug. 1 deadline.