Hearing on Harvey Cedars Wetlands Area Planned Feb. 24
The Harvey Cedars Borough Commission will hold a special public hearing on Friday, Feb 24, at 6 p.m. on whether to apply for $64,000 in Green Acres funding. The money would be used to purchase an unbuildable wetlands area at the end of James Street.
The 3.7-acre area includes a small, sandy beach, suitable for launching kayaks, kiteboarding or wading in the water. But just before last summer, George DiDonato, who had purchased the property, put up barricades and “no trespassing signs,” much to the surprise of local residents who had often used the spot for recreational activities.
Borough Clerk Daina Dale said the land had been owned for decades by the DeCesare family, but went into foreclosure in 2014. Dale said DiDonato purchased the property through a tax sale by the lien holder, TLR-V LLC of New York City. She said the purchase price was $37,000.
“Because it is wetlands, it is an unbuildable lot,” said Dale. “The only use for that land is recreational. If someone wanted to build on the lot, he would have to go through the state DEP (Department of Environmental Protection) and get a CAFRA (Coastal Area Facilities Review Act) permit. But I doubt the state would approve it. That’s a fairly large wetlands area, and I’m sure the state would want it to be preserved.”
Mayor Jonathan Oldham said the move is unrelated to voters approving an open space preservation tax on Election Day. The borough is in the process of forming an open space committee that would look into using proceeds from the tax to keep vacant properties from future development.
“We have an opportunity to apply for Green Acres funding, so we’re looking to see what the people in town have to say,” Dale said. “If we purchase it, it is possible the public could use it again. I know it got a lot of use before the barricades and signs went up.” —E.E.