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Seaside Park to Set Aside $4.5M for Potential Real Estate Purchases

Seaside Park, N.J. (Photo: Daniel Nee)

Seaside Park, N.J. (Photo: Daniel Nee)

Seaside Park officials on Thursday night introduced a measure that would allow the borough council to float bonds in order to fund as much as $4.5 million in real estate purchases.

The council introduced the measure in a unanimous vote. It is subject to a public hearing and second vote before adoption. The bond ordinance does not list any potential targets for acquisition, but officials said four or five properties in town are in poor condition and may need to be acquired through eminent domain or a formal redevelopment process. Due to the confidential legal nature of the issue, the specific properties were not identified publicly, but Mayor John A. Peterson said the matter has been discussed in greater detail during closed-session meetings.

Peterson described the ordinance as “giving options” for the borough if it wishes to proceed with any acquisitions. The ordinance, even if fully adopted, does not actually obligate the borough to borrow the money.

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“It sets aside money for options if the town were to enter into either condemnation, redevelopment or a voluntary contract – or do nothing – on four problem properties,” the mayor said.

The ordinance itself does not limit the borough to any specific parcels, however, and could be used to purchase any real property within the city limit. Many municipalities begin the process of arranging financing for purchases when they believe a property may be ripe for acquisition, but the tactic can also be used to nudge property owners to repair issues or face a taking.

“It is not a commitment to any one specific property, per se, but it puts leverage in the hands of the town and puts options on the table as to how the town may proceed,” Peterson said.

Council President Matthew DeMichele said the borough is also looking “’round the clock” for opportunities to use federal or state grant funding instead of bonding for purchases – especially for land that could be preserved. The recently-passed federal infrastructure bill could open up some opportunities, officials hope.

The bond ordinance calls for the borough to borrow $4,275,000 to support $4.5 million worth of acquisitions.

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