Point Pleasant Beach 2021 Year in Review

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[DANIELLA HEMINGHAUS THE OCEAN STAR] Ivy Slavinski of Point Pleasant Beach took part in the girl’s portion of the Grom-O-Ween skateboarding competition held on Oct. 31.

POINT PLEASANT BEACH — The year 2021 saw the borough continue to grapple with the effects of the COVID-19 pandemic, both in schools and in the tourism industry, although many traditional events, canceled in 2020, returned. 

But as always, the borough sought new ways to deal with the perennial problem of poor behavior by some summer visitors. 

JANUARY

Borough council members Caryn Byrnes and Tom Migut were sworn into new terms on the dais during the borough’s reorganization meeting Jan. 3. Councilwoman Arlene Testa was appointed council president.

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Point Pleasant Beach schools have reported nine new cases of COVID-19 since returning to school following the holiday break. According to Superintendent William Smith, these new positive cases reflect a trend in the state following the holiday season.

The G. Harold Antrim Elementary School transitioned its students to remote learning Jan. 25 after more COVID-19 cases were reported in the district. Students will remain remote until Feb. 8.

FEBRUARY

The Point Pleasant Beach Zoning Board of Adjustment has approved an application to renovate the historic Gottlieb Building and open a public market, yarn shop and boutique hotel in the space. After three zoning meetings, members voted to approve the renovations to the 114-year-old building at 641 Arnold Ave.

The Point Pleasant Beach School District has come up with a plan to give parents and fans access to their favorite Point Beach Garnet Gulls sporting events. The district will use high-definition cameras in the high school gymnasium and on Donald Fioretti Field, giving parents a way to view athletes’ games live on their computer at home.

The proposed downtown Historic Overlay District was approved by the borough council, a move designed to preserve the vintage character of structures along Arnold and Bay avenues. The measure will provide incentives to developers who maintain or convert buildings constructed between 1880 and 1980 with the authentic style, features and materials of their era of origin. 

MARCH

The Point Pleasant Beach school district plans to return to five-day in-person instruction on April 12. The change would be a transition from the current four-day in-person instruction schedule, which uses Wednesday as a remote learning day for students, while the custodial staff gives the buildings a deep cleaning.

The borough council introduced an ordinance to acquire the Amethyst’s Beach Motel either through negotiation or by eminent domain. The action was met with sharp criticism by hotel owner John Fernicola. Mayor Paul Kanitra said the borough plans to tear down the structure and build a new parking lot close to the beach. 

Local, county and state officials, including police chiefs, gathered on Jenkinson’s Boardwalk Saturday to amplify their opposition to New Jersey’s new cannabis law. Point Pleasant Beach Police Chief Joseph Michigan, president of the Ocean County Chiefs of Police Association, said, “This law inexplicably bans police officers from notifying parents the first time their children are found to be using marijuana or alcohol.”

APRIL

As the Point Pleasant Beach charter boat industry continues to navigate its way through the COVID-19 pandemic, many charters are eager for a full summer season of fishing for their customers. Charters have had to adjust by limiting numbers on trips, requiring masks, social distancing and more, all to keep fishing enthusiasts safe while on the deck.

The Point Pleasant Beach Republican Club has selected Michael Ramos and Rosa Crowley to run for two council seats in this year’s primary and general elections, dropping Councilman Andy Cortes from the GOP slate. Mr. Cortes had received the most votes out of any candidate in three consecutive campaigns starting in 2013.

A federal judge has dismissed a lawsuit filed by the owners of Jenkinson’s Boardwalk that challenged new beach regulations adopted by the borough last summer to curb rowdy behavior. The Storino family, who owns Jenkinson’s, claimed the new regulations violated their private property rights and were unconstitutional.

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