Unhelpful Litigation

Jan 10, 2018

The following was addressed to Beach Haven Administrator Sherry Mason.

Dear Sherry:

As you are aware, most of the homeowners of Beach Haven are seasonal and are not eligible to vote in local elections. The Beach Haven Taxpayers Association is a nonprofit “watchdog” to identify issues and to monitor the local governing bodies on behalf of the taxpayers. BHTA’s mission is to build a network of engaged taxpayers who care about the borough’s vitality and affordability. BHTA is committed to ensuring greater transparency and discussions of Beach Haven town priorities among Beach Haven government officials. One such 2018 priority is business revitalization and support for pro-business initiatives to attract commerce.

It has come to our attention that Mr. Cranmer has retained counsel to block the expansion of the Black Whale Bar and Fish House, which is currently before the Land Use Board, and Mr. Battista has filed an appeal of the expansion of Parker’s Garage and Oyster Saloon, approved by the Land Use Board earlier this year. We are concerned that the objections have no zoning basis, and the objectors have a history of this conduct.

In Mr. Cranmer’s case, we note the relief sought by the Black Whale is substantially the same as relief previously granted to his restaurant, Buckelew’s. His efforts also stopped an Italian restaurant, approved by the Land Use Board to occupy the former Colony Theatre building, from moving forward.

As to Mr. Battista, he received similar relief at his Ketch establishment two years ago and is now appealing that same relief given to Parker’s Garage. He additionally objected to the Black Whale’s original pursuit of the Boathouse, ultimately chilling that project.

There may be recent court decisions preventing what may appear to be anti-trust violations by these parties. Such litigation they pursue with their costly appeals only serves to increase the borough’s financial debt that is funded by all taxpayers.

We believe expansion of businesses is good for Beach Haven. It serves to increase the borough’s ratable and revenue base. Additional sources of revenue via business revitalization are realized through increased visitation while creating jobs for these establishments. We all have seen the residual benefits of economic development with the revitalization of Surflght Theatre.

Business development and expansion, whereby the tax base improves, also has a residual impact of creating affordable housing and reducing the tax burden of all homeowners. In summary, competition creates a cyclical impact of improving the revenue base for the benefit of all taxpayers.

During the economic development forum that was held on Dec. 7 the survey of our visitors was discussed. The poll indicated the strong desire to support business development to attract both visitors and future year-round residents. The most popular venues were full-service, sit-down establishments. Appealing to most visitors are improved streetscapes, uniform building facades and keeping the feel of a small maritime district.

Litigation at the expense of competition cannot be good for Beach Haven and is not supported by BHTA. A healthy, diverse business community is good for everyone.

John Hailperin, president

Beach Haven Taxpayers’ Association


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