Sunday, December 3, 2023

Administrator: Stone Harbor Needs to Decide Fate of COAH Property

File Photo
Stone Harbor Borough Hall

By Vince Conti

STONE HARBOR – In a report to the governing body, Sept. 5, Stone Harbor Administrator Manny Parada said a decision on the future is needed regarding the Third Avenue triplex, which the city purchased as an affordable housing structure.

The triplex was purchased for $1.6 million in order to meet the borough’s Council on Affordable Housing (COAH) obligations after it vacated a street and granted approval for a new residential subdivision on land formerly part of the Villa Maria by the Sea retreat house. Borough code required a minimum of three affordable housing units as part of the subdivision approval. The borough chose to locate those three units in the Third Avenue triplex.

Now, the borough is caught in the requirements of another part of its code because the renovations made to the property exceed the 40% of value of the structure itself, which triggers a need to raise the building for flood mitigation.

As Parada explained it, the borough must either raise the structure, demolish it, or stand in violation of its own regulations. Rather than lose the investment already made in renovations, the council reached a consensus that the town should seek bids from structural engineers that would further clarify the cost of elevating the structure. A final decision could then be made as to the best path to take regarding the property.

If the borough eventually demolishes the structure, the obligation to provide three affordable housing units remains.

Contact the author, Vince Conti, at


Vince Conti is a reporter for the Cape May County Herald.

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