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Old Sea Bright School Faces Uncertain Future

SEA BRIGHT: Following the borough planning/zoning board's decision to deny a plan to turn it into apartments, the future of the old Sea Bright Public School is up in the air.

The board's June 28 decision voted down an application by River Street Realty, LLC, which first appeared before the board in February, 2015 and presented plans to turn the existing 3.5-story building into a 12-unit apartment building located at 4 River St. It is unclear if the developer will come back before the board with a modified plan in the future.

Earlier in June, the board agreed that the three adjoining lots, which includes the former school, an empty one story structure containing a former dry cleaning business and a vacant lot which once housed a pharmacy, are located in an area in need of redevelopment. The board also agreed that the lots met the criteria for the use of eminent domain.

Councilman Marc Leckstein said at the July 5 Sea Bright Council meeting that the resolution passed by the board will soon be sent to council for possible action. If the council were to accept the resolution, the next step would be to create a redevelopment plan for the land, and if that were ultimately adopted, it would be considered a zoning overlay.

If the borough were to exercise eminent domain, it could either take ownership of the land and develop the property or bring in a redeveloper to buy the property from the current owners at just compensation, Leckstein explained. All three lots are owned by different entities.

Leckstein said that if eminent domain were used by the borough it would not be detrimental because all three lots are uninhabited.

"No residents are being impacted by this project if it goes forward," Leckstein said.


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