Group holds 1st meeting to fight eminent domain abuse: Atlanticville (Long Branch NJ), 3/16/05

By Christine Varno

A group of residents living in one of Long Branch’s redevelopment zones held the first meeting of its newly formed coalition on Sunday, which the founder said was a “great turn-out”.

“I thought it was a very positive meeting,” said Harold Bobrow, Ocean Boulevard.

The two-hour meeting was held at Bobrow’s home on Ocean Boulevard and was attended by 16 people. Bobrow said four others called and said they were interested but could not make it.

“We had an agenda and we opened every topic up for discussion,” he said.

The following topics were on the agenda; The abuse of eminent domain; The Kelo vs. New London, Conn., case, a case before the Supreme Court where a homeowner is fighting to save her oceanfront home from being taken through eminent domain and redeveloped by a private development company; and the importance of attending the twice-a-month council meetings.

The coalition was formed to accomplish two goals, “to stop eminent domain abuse and to obtain equitable compensation for property if taken,” Bobrow said.

“People are very anxious and do not want to be displaced.”

The next meeting of the coalition is scheduled to be held April 10 at 1 p.m. at 295 Ocean Blvd., Unit 5.

Beachfront South is a 12-acre tract of land that extends from Bath Avenue to Morris Avenue between Ocean Boulevard and Ocean Avenue, which is slated for eminent domain.

In August, K. Hovnanian Shore Acquisitions LLC, Middletown, was designated as the redevelopers of the zone and plan to construct a $300 million project that includes razing the existing neighborhood of approximately 30 properties and constructing five buildings with 350 units in its place.

The new units will range in cost from $400,000 up to over $2.2 million,

At a January council meeting, Mayor Adam Schneider said the city is 80 percent of the way to signing a contact.

Bobrow said he is currently arranging a meeting between the residents of Beachfront South, Mayor Adam Schneider, council President Anthony Giordano and representatives from K. Hovnanian.

“We [Beachfront South] want to be part of the [redevelopment] process,” he said.

Bobrow will present three possible dates for the meeting to the mayor, at which point the mayor will have to schedule the meeting for the date that all representatives can attend.

Bobrow said he intends to give the mayor the dates by the end of the month and is hoping for an April meeting.

“I want input before they sign the final documents,” Bobrow said. “Maybe we can amend, change or discuss various issues.”

“There are certain things that I want to know and I am going to the horse’s mouth for that information.”

Atlanticville: www.atlanticville.gmnews.com