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SEA BRIGHT COVETS ANCHORAGE SITE

The Anchorage Apartments were left uninhabitable by Hurricane Sandy, which deposited a utility pole in the living room of one unit, below. (Click to enlarge)

The storm-wracked Anchorage Apartments complex in Sea Bright would become a beach parking lot under a plan being considered by state officials, the Star-Ledger reported Tuesday morning.

Located on Ocean Avenue at the foot of the Route 520 Rumson-Sea Bright Bridge and mere feet from the Shrewsbury River, the single-building complex is seen as a partial solution to a parking shortage that has vexed efforts to open up North Beach oceanfront to visitors.

Razing the property would come at a tradeoff for the town: the loss of a $45,000-a-year tax ratable. But Mayor Dina Long tells the Sledger that’s alright.

“Even though it’s a highly valuable ratable for us,” she tells the newspaper, “my personal feeling is it doesn’t make sense to rebuild on environmentally sensitive areas.”

The state owns the public Atlantic Ocean beach – known as the Anchorage Beach – across Ocean Avenue from the Anchorage, and the borough manages it. But the parking lot is small.

From the Sledger:

State Environmental Protection Commissioner Bob Martin said he is interested in an idea floated by Sea Bright Mayor Dina Long about purchasing the Anchorage on Ocean Avenue, razing the building and turning the property into parking for the municipal beach across the street.

Martin said he’s waiting for a more formal proposal from the town before deciding whether to proceed.

“It’s something we’ll consider once there’s been a more concrete proposal,” said Larry Ragonese, a DEP spokesman. “It’s not something that’s culminated yet.”

In the meantime, the DEP’s Green Acres Program sent a letter last week to the borough asking if there are any environmental issue with the property, Long said.

“They’re evaluating it as a potential Green Acres property,” she said.

The Russo Group of Shrewsbury, which owns the complex, did not return repeated calls for comment. But Sea Bright administrator Joseph Verruni said Monmouth County officials considered buying that property a few months ago as part of a project to relocate the Rumson Bridge, which is just south of the complex.

Reporter Maryann Spoto writes that the county instead decided to buy the nearby Dunkin’ Donuts site.

In 2010, the state settled a four-year-old lawsuit against the borough and its beach clubs over access to the ocean shoreline.

During the hurricane, a utility pole became lodged in one of the first-floor units of the Anchorage residences, which are now vacant and secured by a temporary fence.

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