Beach Haven Marine Zone Awaits Interest From Developers 

May 16, 2018

The Beach Haven Borough Council has taken the final step in designating the marine commercial district for redevelopment by adopting an ordinance at a May 10 agenda meeting.

James Maley, an attorney who specializes in redevelopment law and serves as a consultant to the borough, said the ordinance does not propose any specific changes to the district, but agrees that the area is in need of redevelopment. The district consists of 21 properties that are mostly commercial. The largest holder is Morrison’s Marina, owning six of the properties. Maley said the designation will be “non-condemnation,” in that the properties cannot be seized by eminent domain.

Maley said that to qualify for redevelopment status, the district had to meet one or more statutory conditions or requirements. One of them was “areas with buildings or improvements which, by reason of dilapidation, obsolescence, overcrowding, faulty arrangement or design, lack of ventilation, light and sanitary facilities, excessive land coverage, deleterious land use or obsolete layout, or any combination of these or other factors, are detrimental to the safety, health, morals or welfare of the community.”  

Another condition was “a growing lack or total lack of proper utilization of areas caused by condition of the title, diverse ownership of the real properties therein or other similar conditions which impede land assemblage or discourage the undertaking of improvements, resulting in a stagnant and unproductive condition of land potentially useful and valuable for contributing to and serving the public health, safety and welfare.”

According to the ordinance, the primary goal of redevelopment is to eliminate those conditions that cause the area to be considered an “area for redevelopment.” It also looks to stimulate private investment and foster public-private partnerships to “accomplish revitalization of the area in a manner that best serves the needs of the community, strengthens the local economy and attracts residents to the area and contributes to the continuing vitality of Beach Haven.”   

Sherry Mason, borough manager/clerk, said the ordinance puts the council in the position to negotiate with any builder interested in developing one of the properties.

“With this redevelopment designation, the borough has more leeway in what will be built there,” said Mason. “After negotiations, we could establish a developers agreement where we might offer tax abatements.”

She said the applicant would still be required to go to the land use board for approval.

“So far, no formal plans have been submitted,” said Mason. “Before this, there wasn’t much we could do. Now we can take a closer look at what is proposed and be sure it is something beneficial to Beach Haven.”

— Eric Englund 

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