Jul 28, 2014
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Lavallette Mayor: Time to Let Residents Return Home Permanently

Borough in surprisingly good shape after storm

Lavallette Mayor: Time to Let Residents Return Home Permanently Lavallette Mayor: Time to Let Residents Return Home Permanently

It's been a month since Superstorm Sandy roared ashore in Lavallette.

But the streets have been cleared, the water is safe to drink, the electricity has been turned on and even the cable television service is back.

Just about the only thing missing in the small, barrier island borough is its residents – and Mayor Walter LaCicero wants that to change, quickly.

"Lavallette is one community that miraculously did not suffer the structural damage that occurred both to the north and to the south," LaCicero said in a letter mailed to Gov. Chris Christie Nov. 21.

By Thursday, LaCicero said he had not heard a formal response from Christie pertaining to repopulating his town, which has 1,884 year-round residents.

"I've gotten two texts from the office of the governor," said LaCicero. "They got the letter, they haven't forgotten about us, but I have not gotten a response yet."

Lavallette is unique in that it has its own electrical distribution system, water system and sanitary sewer system. It also has its own public works and police departments, as well as a borough school district for students in kindergarten through eighth grade.

The borough is ready to repopulate permanently, and LaCicero said he sees no reason why residents should be held up any longer.

"We're ready, we've had electric since Nov. 10," he said. "We never lost water, we never lost sewer. My cable TV is on, my Internet works."

Presently, residents are able to return to their homes during daylight hours on a staggered schedule.

The only service the borough does not have is natural gas, though service is expected to be restored within a few weeks, and in other areas such as Long Beach Island, those without gas service were issued space heaters to be used temporarily.

LaCicero, who attended a tour of the barrier island by state legislators and other officials Thursday, said he spoke with State Police officials who informed him of "a different route" that could lead to opening up the town.

"I'm optimistic that, rather quickly, we can have our people in," the mayor said.

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