Wildwood Crest Office:
Phone: (609) 729-8505
Email: Email Us
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A QUICK SUMMER
Can you believe that summer is in the rear view mirror already? Boy, that went fast!
After a rainy spring that extended into June and left ocean temps on the chilly side, July wasn?t nearly as hot as in recent years, and August returned to near-drought conditions. There was rainfall only three days in August here in Cape May County and non-irrigated lawns finally turned brown.
Fortunately, autumn is a beautiful time of the year here at the shore. Temperatures in the 70s in the day and a nice cooling down at night. Come enjoy the last days of strolling on the beach barefoot and in shorts, because before long we?ll all be raking leaves and know that Old Man Winter can?t be far behind.
Wildwood City Commissioners are revisiting the idea of having a casino in town. The casino concept would get considerable flack from the State of New Jersey, which prohibits casinos anywhere but Atlantic City, but we think the effort is worth a try.
Their plan would be to have a freestanding casino built at 3400 Pacific Avenue, a 1.41 acre vacant lot. That?s the same spot commissioners planned to buy last year and build an ice rink, which was shot down by residents.
The casino would be a simple structure and contain only gambling. It would not be in true competition with Atlantic City, where casinos are built in buildings with high-rise hotel rooms and plenty of restaurants and shops. The Wildwood venue, which would need to be ?affiliated? with an Indian tribe to be legal, would attract locals and vacationers who are looking to spend a few hours relaxing indoors and playing cards or rolling dice.
The last such venture was attempted in 1998. Then mayor Fred Wager enlisted a Lenni Lenape tribal chairman to put up a casino on the 2.5 acre parking lot at Pacific and Schellinger Avenues. If memory serves us correctly, a payment of $30,000 was made and no results were ever produced. It was a black-eye to Wildwood.
This time around could be different. The mistakes of 1998 wouldn't be repeated. If this idea could get legislative support in the state assembly and state senate, Wildwood just might pull it off. It would be a big plus for the city and the whole island.
The foreclosure rate in New Jersey, which increased in the Spring, has dropped again. Foreclosures dropped 8% in August 2013 compared to July, and overall foreclosures are down 34% since August 2012.
One possible reason for the decline is that home prices are finally on the rise, although that phenomenon has been largely absent in Cape May County.
The battle continues against the short-sighted plan by BL England to convert two of its three generators from coal to natural gas. The third generator will be shut down. The Upper Township plant, owned by Rockland Energy, is a "peaker plant", meaning it only runs when energy demand is at a peak. That limits its use to mostly very hot or very cold temperature days.
In 2011, the plant emitted nearly 300,000 tons of carbon dioxide. Plant operators, in attempting to sway public opinion, note that gas generators emit 30% less carbon dioxide. But here?s the rub. The new gas-fired generators will run full-time, thereby causing an increase in the deadly carbon monoxide byproduct.
Also neglected is the impact drilling for natural gas by a method called hydraulic fracturing, or "fracking", is having on fresh water supplies in Pennsylvania, West Virginia, Ohio, Wyoming, Colorado, and the Dakotas. Many residents there now have undrinkable water from their wells, plus a myriad of health problems.
BL England needs to give up its love affair with fossil fuels. The future is wind power, solar power, and harnessing the tides. The location of the Beesley Point plant on Great Egg Harbor is ideally suited to all three alternatives.
The Federal Emergency Management Agency, know as FEMA, caused quite a stir last winter when it released its new flood maps. It created new "high velocity" zones that had local homeowners frantic. The ramifications looked like flood insurance rates might be in the $10,000 to $30,000 range. That had a lot of homeowners in the Wildwoods thinking about selling their properties.
Fast forward to the summer and FEMA has modified its maps after the public outrage. The new maps have reduced the high velocity zones by 80% in Cape May County. End of crisis.
But wait. FEMA may have gone too far in the other direction. In the southern end of Ocean City, several blocks of oceanfront houses were put in the lowest risk zone, called the X Zone. Many of these homes had three feet of sand deposited by Storm Sandy, and now they might not even be required to carry flood insurance by their mortgage holder? Hmmm. Sounds fishy.
In Avalon some homes along Dune Drive, which runs parallel to the ocean and just a short distance away, were completely removed from the flood zone. Wildwood Crest has 20 blocks moved to the X Zone.
FEMA has explained away the big changes by stating that the early flood maps were based only on elevation. The newest revised maps take into account wave action. They have also said that the newest maps are not final. More revisions are forthcoming.
To view the maps of Cape May County, you can go to www.region2coastal.com
WE WARNED YOU
After the devastation of Sandy, many folks were predicting a record-setting business summer here in the Wildwoods. Many of our rental owners called wanting to raise their rental rates based on this perceived influx of new vacationers.
Our feelings were different. We expected a down season, with revenues lagging behind 2012. Our reasoning was that families directly affected by Sandy perhaps wouldn't be vacationing, plus we couldn't conceive of folks loyal to Long Beach Island making the switch to the Wildwoods.
Unfortunately, we were right. It was a lackluster Summer. The only saving grace was the good weather in August, which made some families plan a last minute getaway.
It wouldn't be a newsletter without complaining about road construction and the traffic. Here we go.
The Garden State Parkway, now depleted of trees, looks horrible. How North Jersey! So much traffic diverted to Route 9 that the two-lane road experienced long lines of backed-up vehicles at every traffic light. And yes, the tourists still drive too slow, stop in the middle of the road for no apparent reason, and they don?t use turn signals.
There, we feel better now!
JEWELL REAL ESTATE AGENCY
We love to talk about real estate and our island. We?re always glad to share our insights, observations, and vision with you.
Stop by our office at 5602 New Jersey Avenue and chat. Or give Joyce or Douglas a call at 609-729-8505. We answer phones 6am to 9pm EVERYDAY and you always get a real, live person. That's service!