In the wake of Hurricane Sandy, the Village of Loch Arbour has its eye on an oceanfront tract at its border with Asbury Park.
On the agenda at Wednesday’s board of commissioners meeting is an ordinance authorizing the Village to negotiate with property owner Jack Kassin to purchase the land [above], according to Mayor Paul Fernicola.
The ordinance also authorizes the Village to use eminent domain to take the property if negotiations fail, he said. Kassin has a private beach club on the tract, which was heavily damaged in Hurricane Sandy [right].
“Based upon the state and the federal Sandy recovery funds, this represents the best opportunity that the Village will ever have to receive public funding to finance the acquisition of this property,” Fernicola said.
To the north of the Kassin property is the Village Beach Club, owned by Loch Arbour. South of the Kassin property, over the Asbury Park border, is a tract of beach that some county officials have proposed to acquire for open space as part of preserving the Bradley Cove area.
Part of Loch Arbour’s interest in the property is to construct dunes and other shore protection measures to guard against future storms, Fernicola said.
“Part of the justification to take the property is for shore protection, for Loch Arbour to control its beachfront so we can develop mitigation efforts such as sand dunes and to control the property,” Fernicola said.
“This is where the worst flooding of Sandy was. The ocean came over into Deal Lake. It undermined Ocean Avenue in the vicinity of this property,” he said.
Also on the meeting agenda are resolutions to hire professionals to begin the appraisal process to value the property, said Fernicola.
Fernicola, reached outside his office, did not have the documents with him to state the size of the property subject to the ordinance. He declined to provide an estimate.
Kassin bought the property in the mid-1990s, and demolished a beach club on the site that had been devastated by the Nor’easter storm of December 1991. That beach club was privately owned but open to members. Kassin cleared the site and constructed his own private beach club.
If the ordinance is introduced, a public hearing will be scheduled at a later date after which the commissioners may vote on final passage of the measure.
The text of the proposed ordinance is below:
WHEREAS, the Board of Commissioners of the Village of Loch Arbour has concluded that it is necessary, desirable and appropriate for the Village to acquire fee simple title to all rights and interests in real property known as Block 7, Lot 1 and Block 8, Lots 1 & 2 on the Official Tax Map of the Village of Loch Arbour for public use; and
WHEREAS, Hurricane Sandy caused significant and widespread damages to public and private property along the oceanfront; and
WHEREAS the State of New Jersey recognizes and supports public acquisition of storm damage and storm prone property as a priority hazard mitigation strategy to promote the public health, safety and welfare; and
WHEREAS, the public use of the aforesaid property includes, but is not limited to, promotion, protection and preservation of the public health, safety and welfare of the Village of Loch Arbour and its inhabitants by the acquisition of said real property for storm damage and flood area mitigation, for the benefit of Loch Arbour and adjacent municipalities, to protect public infrastructure, to mitigate future storm damages and associated public recovery expenditures for public use as a beach and public recreational facility, for protection, preservation and conservation of open space and precious natural resources, and for expansion of the Village’s existing public beach, which is contiguous to the aforesaid property.
BE IT ORDAINED by the Board of Commissioners of the Village of Loch Arbour as follows:
1. The Board of Commissioners be and hereby provides for the acquisition of all right, title and interest in real property known as Block 7, Lot 1 and Block 8, Lots 1 & 2 as shown on the Official Tax Map of the Village of Loch Arbour together with all existing improvements or fixtures located thereon, by purchase or condemnation pursuant to the Eminent Domain Act, N.J.S.A. 20:3-1 et seq.
2. The legal description of Block 7, Lot 1 and Block 8, Lots 1 & 2 as recorded in the Clerk’s Office in the County of Monmouth on or about March 7, 1995 at DB5392 0506, -0507, -0508 is attached hereto as Schedule A and is incorporated by reference as if set forth at length herein.
3. This ordinance is adopted pursuant to the powers conferred upon the Village of Loch Arbour by N.J.S.A. 40A:12-5(a).