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Wednesday, April 24, 2024

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Nun Presents Report Contradicting Stone Harbor Consultant

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By Vince Conti

STONE HARBOR – In 2021, Stone Harbor agreed to vacate a portion of 1st Avenue as part of the plan to create a new subdivision on land previously used for a religious retreat house.  

The action left a borough-owned parcel of oceanfront land measuring 35 feet by 110 feet. The irregular lot is not a parcel that could normally support residential development under current borough zoning. 

For several months, Stone Harbor Borough Council has been engaged in discussions about how best to use the lot. Those discussions went so far as to include a study by Lomax Consulting on whether the parcel was part of a dune structure, which, if true, would preclude most development. 

At an April meeting, the council was told by Lomax that the parcel was not part of a dune, and that development would be possible provided the state Department of Environmental Protection (DEP) agreed when permit applications are submitted. At the time, one concept for use of the space was as a public restroom facility, which evoked strong opposition. 

Sister Mary Ellen, of the Immaculate Heart of Mary (IHM), used the public comment period July 5 to object to the conclusions reached by Lomax Consulting. The sisters had commissioned their own report, which they submitted into the borough’s meeting minutes. That report claims that the parcel of land at 112th Street is, indeed, part of a dune. The report directly contradicts the Lomax findings. 

Sister Mary Ellen said that the borough had ended its exploration of possible public restroom facilities on the lot and was exploring the actions necessary to allow the lot to be developed for residential use. She urged the interested public and members of the council to consider the report of the IHM consultant as evidence that the lot cannot be developed for a residential structure. 

The council accepted the IHM consultant’s report without comment.   

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