Highlands Mayor Frank Nolan and Police Chief Joseph Blewet announced to an Emergency Information Meeting this afternoon that the borough’s restrictive access to downtown Highlands will continue for the foreseeable future and that as of now commuters will not be allowed to enter the town on Monday for ferry service to Manhattan.
Highlands has been closed to non-residents all week since the evacuation for Hurricane Sandy. Police check points are in place at the two entrances to the community…at the base of the Captain Joseph Azzolina Bridge and at the corner of Waterwitch and Linden Avenues…no one without identification with a Highlands address or accompanied by a Highlands resident are allowed beyond the check points.
Blewet said there had been “a dozen or so” looting incidents reported and that the check points would continue until power is restored to the community. The Highlands Police Department is being supported by officers from the State Attorney General’s office, the State Police, and the Monmouth County Sheriff’s Office.
Nolan told MMM that Highlands would need at least three additional police officers inorder to allow commuters into town or the full restoration of power to the borough. Highlands is not yet on JCPL’s schedule for power restoration, according to the information they provided the Christie Administration.
Seastreak LLC, the ferry service that operates out of Highlands and Atlantic Highlands, sent an email to the customers on November 2 announcing that Nolan “will lift the public access restrictions” and that service would resume on Monday November 5. The same message emailed was posted on the company’s website.
Jack Bevins, the Seastreak manager in charge at the Highlands Connors location told MMM that the company was indeed planning to resume limited service on Monday. He said the Highlands OEM Director David Parker had given him permission, subject to a conversation with Blewet. “This is the first I’ve heard there was a problem,” Bevins said when informed of Nolan’s and Blewet’s announcement. He immediately left his crew that was restoring access to the fleet to speak with Blewet.
In Atlantic Highlands, Mayor Fred Rast and Harbor Commission Chairwoman Jane Frotton laughed at the notion of Seastreak operating out of their harbor on Monday. The company’s announcement said they “hoped” to be able to resume service in Atlantic Highlands on Tuesday. Rast and Frotton said the barge would have to be replaced and parking at the Senior Housing cleared before commuters would be allowed into Atlantic Highlands. Tuesday appears to be a pipedream.