The Summit Common Council took the first step toward improving conditions for Sunset Drive residents whose properties have experienced "dramatic erosion" following Superstorm Sandy.
At Tuesday's regular meeting, the council unanimously approved a cooperative agreement that would help fund an $118,250 Salt Brook Stablization Project.
As explained by Councilman Robert Rubino, homeowners who sought federal assistance through the Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS) were told that they needed to find a government body - in this case, the city of Summit - to sponsor them. As such, the council has agreed to do so in order to help three homeowners qualify for the $110,000 federal grant.
The city of Summit must front the money for the project and will be reimbursed approximately one year after its completion. The city must also contribute 10 percent toward the project in cash or in-kind labor. Homeowners will be assessed for their share at a later date as well.
Council members expressed concern that, in fact, as many as 40 homes in that area have been impacted as the Salt Brook carries stormwater run-off through that property, yet as per the NRCS's assessment, only the three properties most at risk for further erosion qualify for the federal grant.
Councilman Albert Dill, Jr. asked what potential liability the city might be exposed to should they not act on behalf of the other affected properties as well.
Sunset Drive resident Tara Higgins asked that the council consider the liability of being in possession of a federal report stating that there is a current danger to life and property and not taking action.
Democratic Second Ward council candidate and Blackburn Road resident Michael Vernotico said he thinks the project is a great start and recommended getting the county involved as the issue impacts New Providence as well.