MIDDLE TOWNSHIP — Township Committee on Monday decided not to vacate a small portion of Maryland Avenue off North Wildwood Boulevard in the Burleigh section of the township, after complaints from neighbors and a fresh recommendation from the township engineer.
Committee members do not expect a formal vote on the matter. The three members of the township governing body reached a consensus at the Monday work session before the regular committee meeting to let the matter die.
Township engineer Vince Orlando told committee members that he visited the site and spoke to neighbors and would not recommend the township vacate that street as requested by the Martinelli Group LLC, which owns one of the adjacent properties.
Originally introduced in August, an ordinance vacating a small section of the road adjacent to the business that once housed Harbor Furniture was set for a final vote Sept. 17, but committee members Jeff DeVico and Tim Donohue decided to table the vote at that meeting until they could get more details on the issue.
Several neighbors had asked the township not to proceed, saying closing that small section of road to through traffic would present a danger because emergency vehicles could not reach their properties on Pershing Avenue.
Mayor Michael Clark was not at that meeting in September. On Monday, he agreed to drop the plan entirely.
No representative of the Martinelli Group attended Monday’s workshop meeting but several of the neighbors were back to again plead their case.
Orlando told the committee the issue goes back to when the state built North Wildwood Boulevard.
“It was their intent to eliminate public traffic going out Maryland Avenue. It appears over the course of time that hasn’t happened,” Orlando said.
Maryland Avenue appears to be part of the adjacent property, he said, but it remains in use as a public street, used by trash and delivery trucks even though it is not marked or maintained by the township.
“So it is a public street being used privately,” he said.
Residents attending the workshop said fire trucks also use the cut-through because otherwise the turn onto Pershing Avenue would be too tight. They said there is not enough room on that road for two cars to pass, so neighbors often use it as though it were a one-way street, entering by South Carolina Avenue and leaving through Maryland Avenue.
Route 147, or North Wildwood Boulevard, runs from Route 9 through the marsh and over two bridges to lead into North Wildwood. There are a few businesses and homes east of the Garden State Parkway before the start of the wetlands in the Burleigh section of the township, including Maryland Avenue.
On one side of North Wildwood Boulevard, Maryland runs from Cedar Avenue to the highway. On the other side, the road is not marked on maps and there is no street sign. A short section of South Carolina Avenue runs back to Pershing Avenue, which leads to a cul-de-sac behind the section of road in question.