City Seeks Change to Waterfront Agreement

 

By DON STINE

A game-changer in the redevelopment of Asbury Park’s waterfront may be afoot under a proposal put forward at the last City Council meeting.

The council unanimously approved sending a letter to waterfront redeveloper 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.

Under the proposal, if mutually agreed upon between the city and iStar, 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 under the current waterfront redevelopment agreement, if the city and iStar mutally agree to the lot-by-lot redevelopment concept, then it would 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.

“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 iStar vice president of land development Brian Cheripka recently gave two public presentations- one to an architectural group and one to the Asbury Park Homeowners Association- where Cheripka discussed possible lot-by-lot development. He said a formal statement would be issued Aug. 12.

“I think that anyone who owns property at the waterfront wants it redeveloped- and this benefits everybody in Asbury Park,” Quinn said.

“It starts the process of actually moving waterfront redevelopment forward for everyone, including those who don’t own the entire block. It will allow individual property owners to develop their own sites,” she said.

Asbury Park Director of Redevelopment Donald 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. “This is a step in the right direction.”

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