EGG HARBOR TOWNSHIP — Seven years after Hurricane Sandy made landfall and destroyed Sea Village Marina and Gifford Marine, improvements could soon be on the way to make them habitable again.
A redevelopment plan for the Margate Causeway, which includes the Sea Village Marina and Gifford Marine, was approved earlier this month by the Township Committee.
James Garth Sr., who is the township's planning board chairman, was pleased that the Township Committee accepted his board's recommended redevelopment plan.
"The area is blighted and needs upgrades and changes," Garth said. "It will be an asset to the township (after redevelopment)."
Sea Village Marina and the nearby Gifford Marine area have been deemed by the township as in need of redevelopment because of their outdated and obsolete designs, the plan said.
Proposed projects can qualify for tax and other financial incentives if an area is designated as being in need of redevelopment.
The plan also calls for redeveloping the former Sea Village Marina as a residential development consisting of townhomes and multi-family residential units with dockage. The former Gifford Marine site is to be developed in a similar fashion with multi-family residential units with dockage.
"The Margate Causeway since Superstorm Sandy has been in dire need of cleanup and redevelopment," said council member Laura Pfrommer. "That area is beautiful and has incredible potential."
Both Sea Village Marina and Gifford Marine had been used as marina businesses since the mid-1950s. Previous owners include Corky Campbell, Baywatch Marina LLC and Floating Homes Marina LLC.
The current owner is Bayview Marina LLC., which has Joseph Ventresca as one of its principals, said attorney Stephen Nehmad, of Nehmad Perillo Davis & Goldstein, which represents Bayview Marina.
Bayview paid $950,000 to previous owner, Floating Homes Marina LLC for the property on Feb. 17, 2017. The assessment was $834,200, which included $773,400 for the land and $60,800 for improvements on it, the assessor's office said. They will pay $26,986 in taxes this year, according to the township tax collector.
Oceanview Marina LLC purchased Gifford Marine from Casaba Real Estate for $250,000 on Dec. 11, 2015, the tax assessor's office said. Ventresca is also one of the principals of Oceanview Marina.
Houseboats and the dilapidated marinas were extensively damaged by Hurricane Sandy in 2012.
Patty Fulton, 61, of Cherry Hill, Camden County, remembers the good times before Hurricane Sandy.
Fulton and her sister, Carolyn Pryor, of Philadelphia, joined together to buy a nonmotorized, two-bedroom, one-bath houseboat in 2005 for $132,000.
The houseboat community at Sea Village Marina in the salt marsh section of Egg Harbor Townsh…
Fulton made use of her houseboat during the summer from 2005 until 2012.
After that, a previous Sea Village Marina owner barred houseboat owners from accessing their properties. The docks and other parts of the infrastructure and utilities were so badly damaged by Sandy, it was deemed unsafe to have people on the marina, Fulton said last year.
Now that a redevelopment plan has been approved, Fulton looks to have a crane operator lift her houseboat out of the water. She needs to hire someone to determine the amount of damage her houseboat suffered and whether it is worth it to fix it or to just write it off as a loss.
"Whatever transpired since the hurricane, we had no control over, but at the end of the day, my family and my sister's family lost a home," Fulton said.
The redevelopment plan allows for: transient, seasonal and permanent year-round dockage, but limited to the total number of pre-existing live-aboard and houseboats; a full-service restaurant with alcohol service and sales; single-family attached townhomes and multi-family apartments.
These plans fall in line with what the current owner said last year about what he wants to do with the property.
With the redevelopment plan approved, the next step in the process is for the owner to develop specific site plans, Nehmad said. The owner will have to make it through the township's planning board review process and work with the state's Department of Environmental Protection, he said.
The site has been ravaged by many coastal storms and more than 30 years of developers' neglect, Nehmad said.
The current owner is engaged in a multi-million dollar undertaking that will lead to new marinas being built and a relatively small residential community, Nehmad said.
The goal is to present concept site review plans to the township planning board and the DEP next year, Nehmad said.
"Hopefully, we're going into the ground sooner rather than later," Nehmad said.