SEA BRIGHT: The borough council gave its blessing to the state’s purchase of the Hurricane Sandy-damaged Anchorage Apartments in order to demolish the building and erect a municipal park there.
However, Councilman William J. Keeler voted against the resolution authorizing the plan, saying the housing at Anchorage Apartments was some of the few remaining moderately priced housing stock in Sea Bright.
The loss of the housing changes the face of the borough, but also means losing a ratable and residents, while adding to the number of park properties the borough pays to maintain, Keeler said.
Councilwoman Peggy Bills said she believed the owner wanted to sell the parcel to New Jersey, and not a private owner, under the Blue Acres program. The owner and the New Jersey State Department of Environmental Protection negotiated the buyout program, part of the Christie Administration's goal of buying out 1,000 properties in tidal areas affected by Sandy.
The apartments are located just north of the Rumson/Sea Bright Bridge and have been vacant since they were flooded by Hurricane Sandy in October 2012.
Borough Attorney Pat McNamara said after two residents inquired at Tuesday’s council meeting whether the housing could be preserved somehow, that the costs to repair the apartments were substantial.
Anchorage Apartments still sits vacant after the storm surge of Sandy, and is boarded up and behind metal fencing and “No Trespassing” signs.
The council members besides Keeler voted yes to an interim management plan for the site, which would become a park known as “Shrewsbury River Municipal Park.” Last year, a plan for a park there was greeted with similar resident concern, but the borough agreed to allow for the state to negotiate for the property, passing a resolution as part of that process in 2013.
The site is at 960 Ocean Avenue, and is approximately 1.2 acres in size. The property assessment before Sandy was $1.9 million for the site, which featured 23 housing units.