Highlands Re-Development: Where was Everyone?




That 90-minute public information session in Highlands last night may have answered some questions for the very sparse crowd in attendance, but it didn’t win over any converts.


Steve Solas probably said it best when he said that economic growth should come before economic development and it’s worth thinking about. Is the borough planning for an entire new age of boutiques and souvenir shops because they think people will skip their shopping trips on Amazon and go into the local store on the corner in years to come? It doesn’t appear to be the trend.

I do wonder, however, why so few taxpayers turn out for meetings that have such a huge impact on their future; it is so much wiser than letting things happen, the Taj Mahal costs to date for instance, before asking all the necessary questions and getting solid answers.

I also wonder how people can say Highlands is its own separate island, with nothing to the east of it….hasn’t anyone noticed the two million visitors a year to Sandy Hook and how the vast majority get there? If they want business, shouldn’t they be thinking of enticing just ten percent of those folks to get off the highway and come in and spend time and money? To me, that was bad enough, but I personally didn’t like hearing the Mayor say she wants Bay Avenue to be the best street in the state. Heck, I already think it is. It’s the people who don’t take pride in it that I blame, certainly not the main street through this terrific town.

Certainly did like the native Highlander who ticked off all the businesses the borough had when she was growing up and even when she was raising her own children. Yep, the town was bustling and thriving, yes it was safe and fun, and yes people did frequent the bars and restaurants for some liquid refreshments. By the way, there were lots and lots more bars in Highlands then, everyone of them a thriving business, paying taxes, and keeping people happy. Without disturbing the movie theater or merry-go-round either.

My own questions, including those I did not ask, focus on if code enforcement is so darn good, how come so many of the 122 properties that meet the criteria were described in the report as having litter all around, trash not taken care of, shabby houses in need of paint, unkempt yards. The report was completed last month, the planner said, when did the clean-up start? The study also described that one very outstanding wholesale and retail seafood market that people and businesses come from miles around just because they know the freshness and cleanliness and care given to all the seafood. In the report, it met the criteria for being unsafe and unhealthy for the public? Really? Then how come the seafood is so terrific?

Sorry to hear Linda Mazzola is not going to seek a second term. She is refreshing in actually having her own opinions and voting the way she feels is right after she completes al her investigation and research. With the exception of that one time I’ve mentioned before, she’s the only one who ever votes differently from the mayor. Just hope whoever is elected in November does have a mind of his/her own and a voice to express it loud and clear. And hearing strong enough to listen to the people.

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