By DON STINE
Loch Arbour hopes to acquire privately-owned beachfront property through purchase or by using the power of eminent domain.
An ordinance scheduled to be introduced by the village’s Board of Commissioners at press time seeks to acquire the beachfront property of Jack Kassin, who purchased a commercially-operattract in 1995 to use as a private beach club.
The public hearing on the ordinance is scheduled for Aug. 19.
Mayor Paul Fernicola said acquiring the property is in the best interest of the village and its residents and the timing is right to obtain funding for the purchase.
An appraisal will be performed on the property in the near future but the property is currently assessed at more than $2 million for tax purposes.
“Because of Hurricane Sandy, now is the time for Loch Arbour to be in control of its entire beachfront and there may never be a better time than right now for Loch Arbour to receive public funding to acquire this property,” he said.
Fernicola said that the village will seek various grants and state and federal funding to pay for the acquisition.
“This is in best long-term interest of the village and its residents and I hope residents will support it,” he said.
By adopting the ordinance, the village provides the mechanism to acquire the property and any improvements on it either through an outright purchase or by using the power of eminent domain.
The ordinance notes that Hurricane Sandy caused significant and widespread damage to public and private property along the oceanfront and that the state recognizes and supports public acquisition of storm damaged and storm prone property as a hazard mitigation strategy to promote the public health, safety and welfare.
The ordinance states that acquiring the Kassin property will allow the village to protect public infrastructure, mitigate future storm damage, allow the property to be used as a public beach and recreational facility, and protect and preserve open space and other precious natural resources.
Kassin and his wife, Joyce, who live in Deal, bought the almost five-acre oceanfront property, formerly operated as a commercial beach club, as their own private beach club in 1995. The property has about 650 feet of frontage along the Atlantic Ocean and is about 300 feet deep.
The remainder of the beachfront, or about 350 feet of frontage, belongs to Loch Arbour and is operated as a public beach.