Back to Arbitration for Bradley Beach Rehab Facility

 

coaster-news-200-newBy PETE WALTON

Bradley Beach’s dispute with an oceanfront rehabilitation residence and its landlord will go to binding arbitration.

Municipal Attorney Michael R. DuPont told the Borough Council this week that the owner, Simone Realty Inc., has agreed to allow retired Ocean County Assignment Judge Eugene Serpentellito decide on the issues between the sides.

DuPont said Serpentelli will hold an arbitration hearing in January.

Operators of the upscale Tranquil and Quest facility at 811 Ocean Ave. said they planned to use the building to house people who were undergoing weight loss treatment rather than for drugs and alcohol, as they have in the past.

The borough’s position is that Tranquil and Quest has been operating as a business rather than a residence.

According to DuPont, Serpentelli was receptive to the borough’s arguments. He said the case could have been referred to state Superior Court but it was “very good news” that Simone agreed to arbitration.

When Simone was unable to sell the four residential units after construction, he took what Mayor Gary Engelstad described as “a shocking step of leasing the property to a provider of rehab services.”

After the borough opposed the arrangement, Simone sued under the Fair Housing Act and in January of 2015, state Superior Court Judge Katie A. Gummer ordered the town to grant a group rental license and a use permit.

Serpentelli agreed to serve as a mediator in an attempt to resolve the town’s concerns, including those raised over the last year by the borough’s revitalized Quality of Life Committee.

On their website, Tranquil and Quest advertised what they called “the first beachfront sober living option in New Jersey,” with “luxurious and modern recovery services for those struggling with addiction to drugs and alcohol.”

Also at this week’s meeting, the council approved a resolution asking the Monmouth County Board of Chosen Freeholders to encourage construction of a county recycling processing facility.

“Monmouth County is the only large population county in New Jersey that does not have an in-county facility to process recyclables,” the resolution says. “As a result, the Borough of Bradley Beach is currently paying $30 to $40 per ton to process its single stream outside Monmouth County.”

The resolution, prepared with the help of the borough’s Environmental Commission, says the town could save $20 per ton in shipping fees if an in-county facility were available.

According to the commission, the freeholders said they would make an overture to private companies about such an operation in July.

“However, to date this has not happened,” the resolution says.

The council approved a request from the nonprofit Rally Cap Sports to conduct a fall beach soccer program for special needs persons on the Cliff Avenue beach from Sept. 19 through Oct. 24. The activities would take place on Tuesday evenings from 5:30 to 6:30 p.m.Engelstad congratulated representatives of the group for their successful beach volleyball program this summer.

The mayor asked the borough’s new library director Janet Castelpietra to introduce herself to those in attendance at the meeting. She said she worked at a library in Mexico City for four years before coming to the borough. Castelpietra replaces Janet Torsney, who returned to Montclair after overseeing construction of the Bradley Beach library’s handicapped accessible addition.

Engelstad urged support for a technology program undertaken by the Monmouth County Social Community Activities Network (SCAN) to put tablet computers in the hands of seniors and teach them how to use them.

The mayor said the program could be cancelled if not enough people participate. He said the sessions are open to residents of Bradley Beach and surrounding towns on Wednesdays through Nov. 22. Details are available from SCAN at 732-542-1326.

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