OPINION: Grounded TR Drone Ban Written to Appease One Influential Resident

According to Toms River Councilman Jeffrey R. Carr (Ward 3), the ordinance that recently proposed to essentially flat out ban drone flying in Toms River, require registration with a $70 fee yearly, and expose violators of the ordinance to a $2,000 fine and 90 days in jail, was hastily put together due to the council’s empathy for Kathy Durante.

Kathy Durante, seen with Assemblyman David Wolfe.

This was indicated on April 25, 2017 during the council’s conclusion of the final hearing on the proposed ordinance and just before the council, after being confronted by and hearing from a vast variety of citizens in opposition to the ordinance, unanimously voted to table the matter for review and revisions of its provisions.

Kathy Durante was the only person to address the council with insistence that the ordinance, as written, be enacted then and there, “tonight” in fact, and “not become a prolonged discussion.” Her reasons for such instance speak for themselves and can be heard on the attached video.

Of greater interest to me was why the council would, based on what we heard from Kathy Durante, resort to hastily creating a new ordinance, an ordinance with extraordinary implications and consequences for Toms River residents, that was only acknowledged as flawed and tabled due to an overwhelming and legitimate showing of opposition from citizens. So I did some simple checking and what I found kinda made me go “hmmm.”

Kathy Durante of 529 Reynolds Avenue, Toms River NJ (Tallymawr Estates), a relatively affluent area, is also an influential character in Ocean County. More specifically, she is the Executive Director of the OceanFirst Bank’s charity, OceanFirst Foundation, which boasts of providing grants of over 30 million dollars to community organizations in and around Ocean County to “enrich lives in areas such as Housing, Youth Development and Education, Improving the Quality of Life, Health and Wellness, and the Arts.” With that much in mind, one need not stretch their imagination too far, particularly as heavily Ocean County Republican politics play for many years and especially as all four of the ward seats on the council are currently up for election this year, to suspect the political pandering that the council had engaged in by practically jumping to Mrs. Durante’s tales of whoa.

Listening to Mrs. Durante made it difficult to continue to empathize with her, as the only potentially legitimate “privacy” issue she raised (a drone flying allegedly low into her backyard) was the basis she was urging the council to enact the ordinance right then and there, “tonight” in fact, and not wanting it to “become a prolonged discussion.” It was like her practical hysteria about the drone flying in her yard and her elitist-type of delusions about the “privacy” of her affluent neighborhood roads should compel the council to simply enact an ordinance that, on its face, is arguably illegal and unconstitutional, certainly draconian, exorbitantly expensive for the taxpayers of Toms River if it was to be enacted and enforced, and simply not in the best interests of ALL of Toms River Township.

Now knowing the significant and influential position she occupies with the OceanFirst Foundation and the contribution it makes to our community, coupled with her apparent proclivity for being elitist, self-centered, and inconsiderate of others, I wonder more about the OceanFirst Foundation and how she may impact on the decisions of its board in pursuing and fulfilling its mission. Stay tuned…

Paul Williams

Paul C. Williams is a resident of Toms River

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9 Responses

  1. Mac says:

    Perhaps Gilmore’s vanity is calling for a more balanced public display of his contributions to society. I guess the scarlet apple already self-craved on his forehead has gotten lonesome for more company.

  2. llewellynh says:

    Wonder if Toms River is going to stop Amazon from using its proposed drone delivery system?

    Also question the wisdom of not letting people with opposing views have time to put together their own side or even hire experts. Fair is fair and both sides should have adequate time to put up a serious case. If a drone flew low and into her backyard I believe that may well have been against existing federal law. But to push it to ALL drones no matter the height is asking really for litigation.

    And Toms River better get ready to have jail cells for youngsters because this is a summer activity. Yes, privacy matters but not to this blanket banning of what is a new technology. Google world maps can get into anyone’s back yard but there, too, there are federal limitations.

    And that fee and fine and jail time do seem rather excessive for something that usually is done by teenagers. We have such serious problems that NEED police attention that this seems to be jumping the gun and should be rethought and handled fairly.

  3. TomsRiverStrong says:

    The ignorance in this opinion piece is real. The constant harassment that Tallymawr residents have endured over the last 18 months is sickening. Over 1/3 of the residents of this neighborhood have sold due to aggressive real estate solicitation and a steady degradation in quality of life. Mrs Durante and her neighbors had their privacy breached by a drone operator hired by Isaac Nussbaam of Crossroads Realty. It flew over multiple homes that were not for sale and nearly impacted a home. How would you like it if you were being spied on and intimidated into selling your home? You wouldn’t like it. Drones need to be banned in the cease and desist zones to protect our citizens and show Lakewood that we will not put up with their scare tactics. Do I live in Tallymawr or North Dover? No I do not. I do however, have half a brain and a good deal of common sense.

    • Cathy Gi says:

      So realtor’s are droning homes now that no-knocks are in place? Wow, that’s sick.

    • Mac says:

      Hey, the neighbors on both sides of me, and also behind me, have these big trees in their yards that have big branches that also hang over my yard, depriving me of my God-given right to bask in the sunshine at various times and spots within my property. It is very annoying and I demand that no one be allowed to plant another tree, bush or shrub without first getting the permission of every homeowner in the area, a full review of how the landscaping will affect the neighborhood, and financial relief if one of the leaves from these trees blows into my yard, and I want it done tonight.

    • llewellynh says:

      Several houses near me are for sale and yes, the realtors are using the drone to give internet viewers a better idea of what the house for sale is all about. The drones are used by experts and frankly haven’t bothered the rest of us at all. It’s a rather fast operation and truly is useful if you are trying to sell your house.

  4. K.L.O says:

    Kinda knew it had to do with political reasons.

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