By DON STINE
The landscape of Asbury Park’s waterfront would change dramatically under a proposal by the City Council requesting that beachfront develolper iStar Financial allow lot-by-lot redevelopment at the beachfront by private property owners.
The council unanimously approved sending a letter to iStar Financial requesting the company mutually agree to lot-by-lot redevelopment in the waterfront zone.
“This should have happened 10 years ago,” said Councilwoman Amy Quinn, who introduced the motion to send the letter.
“This will be a complete change to the waterfront redevelopment plan,” Asbury Park Director of Redevelopment Donald Sammet said.
But Brian Cheripka, vice president of land for iStar, said in a prepared statement that block-by-block development is the “cornerstone planning principal” of the 2002 Waterfront Redevelopment Plan and that the use, height and design standards of that plan cannot be easily adapted to the development of individual lots.
“Allowing lot-by-lot development without providing for proper development controls would expose the city to considerable litigation. Our team has worked closely with the city, and its professionals, for the past few years to develop a comprehensive amendment to the Waterfront Redevelopment Plan which allows for lot-by-lot development.”
Under the new proposal, Asbury Park’s waterfront redevelopment would pretty much begin anew because individual property owners would, for the first time under the 2002 plan, be allowed to develop their own, individual properties. Under the current waterfront redevelopment plan, entire blocks must be redeveloped as a single project
Quinn said that if the city and iStar mutally agree to the lot-by-lot redevelopment concept, then it will proceed. If iStar does not agree, then it opens up the possibility of arbitration on the matter, she said.
“Allowing lot-by-lot redevelopment in the zone provides the ability to change the whole waterfront because people who own their own parcels of land would be able to develop or sell to their land to developers other than iStar,” Quinn said.
Quinn said she expects City Manager Jack Kelly will be sending the letter to iStar this week. iStar then has 45 days to respond and agree to lot-by-lot redevelopment. And, if not, Quinn says she believes it opens up the door for arbitration.
“It would be a fantastic thing if they say yes. And, if they don’t, at least we’ve got people talking,” she said.
Quinn said lot-by-lot redevelopment would allow individual property owners to develop their own sites she said.
Sammet said he believes lot-by-lot redevelopment is a good way to go.
“I think it’s a good move and I have been advocating for it for some time now. It provides for additional redevelopment opportunities and we already have people ready to redevelop their own properties,” he said.
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