HIGHLANDS —A massive concrete monument that many residents consider an eyesore, and that never received the necessary state approval for construction, is still standing on the beach of this Monmouth County shore town.

Officials now want public input before the Borough Council decides whether to keep it or destroy it.

The monument along Snug Harbor Avenue was a donation from a concrete industry trade group seeking to honor local survivors of Superstorm Sandy. But since it was erected in September, residents have been pushing for its removal, claiming it's unattractive and can block views of the water.

In any case, it's illegal. The borough learned late last year that the state Department of Environmental Protection never issued the proper permit for the construction of the 200-ton pavilion.

But getting rid of it won't be so easy. The cost of removal has been estimated from $9,600 to $35,800, while the cost of seeking the state permit could be $17,000.

Sandy monument in Highlands (Dino Flammia, Townsquare Media NJ)

According to Council President Carolyn Broullon, residents will be surveyed on the issue, online and through paper surveys available at the Borough Trailer. Officials also plan to host a town hall event sometime in April to discuss the monument.

"If the response is overwhelming one way or the other, then we'll move forward with whatever that overwhelming response is," Broullon told New Jersey 101.5.

But if the choice is not clear after the survey and town hall, the issue will be put on the November ballot, Broullon said.

That plan doesn't sit well with some residents.

"We're not going to look at that all summer," one resident said during Wednesday's council meeting. "It's ugly. Everybody hates it."

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