A proposed heliport for private use by the owner of a vacant marina at the foot of the Mathis Bridge at 3423 Route 37 in Toms River has residents of a nearby neighborhood voicing concerns about potential dangers.

Mathis Bridge between Toms River & Seaside Heights
Mathis Bridge between Toms River & Seaside Heights (NJ DOT)

Vincent Zenna told Townsquare Media News that he and dozens of neighbors in the 188 home Breezy Point Development, less than 100 feet away from the marina, are concerned about the value of their properties diminishing further almost three years after rebuilding continues from Super storm Sandy.

"I always dreamed that I'd be able to sell my house and be able to get the money from there to retire. That's the biggest investment all of us have, and now the storm took away a lot of that, and the we put a heliport there," said Zenna.

The heliport has received preliminary approval from the New Jersey Department of Transportation, according to Zenna.

"This community already has 30 emergency heliports in the area, those are authorized, and of course, any open field in an emergency is authorized. We have three airports close by us. We have the Ocean County Airport, we have Lakehurst airport, and of course we have Lakewood airport," said Zenna.

In addition to noise, safety is among the biggest concerns. Zenna noted that traffic during the summer backs up to Fischer Boulevard when the bridge opens to allow boat traffic.

"If that helicopter crashed into the bridge, with all those cars there and those people, and all the gasoline in those cars, we would have a catastrophe, not to mention all the power lines that surround the bottom base of the bridge." said Zenna.

Residents eve fear what could happen if the helicopter was ever hi-jacked, according to Zenna, who pointed out there is no security or fences at the marina and none in the proposal.

"If somebody stole his helicopter and ran in into Oyster Creek [Nuclear] Power Plant, we'd have a real disaster on our hands," Zenna said.

Toms River Attorney Harvey York of Novins, York & Jacobus, representing the marina owner, has some interesting counterpoints in a follow up story tomorrow.

The Toms River Board of Adjustment's public hearing on the proposed heliport by Toms River Properties LLC owner Robert Grogan of Florham Park, is scheduled for Thursday, September 24, at 7 p.m..

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