Long Beach Township Looks to Preserve 22 Acres of Land in Holgate

Jun 12, 2019
File Photo by: Ryan Morrill

Long Beach Township is aiming to acquire for preservation the approximately 22 acres of bayside land in Holgate that has been the subject of concern over its status following Superstorm Sandy. At its June 3 meeting the municipality’s board of commissioners introduced Ordinance 19-17, stating the intention to acquire, “by purchase or condemnation,” a grouping of lots between Rosemma and Beck avenues.

As the ordinance states, the township wants to attain the property for “public recreation and potential ancillary facilities and for the protection, preservation, maintenance and conservation of open space and precious natural resources.”

It also notes, “If a determination is made by a majority vote of the Mayor and Board of Commissioners of the Township that the purchase of the property is more appropriate than the obtaining (of) said property interest through condemnation/eminent domain, then all appropriate officials of the Township, including, but not limited to, the Mayor, Township Clerk, Township Attorney and Condemnation Attorney are authorized by this Ordinance to sign any and all documentation to effectuate the purchase of the property by the Township.”

“This would be the first acquisition through our open space tax,” which was approved in a 2017 referendum, said Mayor Joseph Mancini.

Local developer Mark Davies, on behalf of the property’s owners, had endeavored to see the parcel purchased by the Trust for Public Land for conservation, but was stalled while in the midst of the long process.

The property, across Long Beach Boulevard from the oceanfront, was previously classified as wetlands, prohibiting development. Following Superstorm Sandy in 2012, during which sand was washed onto the area, the state Department of Environmental Protection revised coastal wetlands maps to exclude the parcel.

Residents have long spoken out against any development on the property, which would have been permitted, and voiced concerns about the precedent set by the DEP’s decision to declassify wetlands. Many said they believed the site could revert back to wetlands, while others worried more generally about the loss of open space on the Island.

Now it seems development is forever off the table for the land.

On the township’s official tax map, the property includes Block 1.63, Lot 1; Block 1.64, Lot 1; Block 1.66, Lot 1; Block 1.68, Lot 1; Block 1.71, and Lots 5 and 6 in Holgate. —J.K.-H.

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