The former American Legion post property at 33rd Street and Bay Avenue will be one of the sites for the new duplexes providing affordable housing. By MADDY VITALEThe Cape May County freeholders voted unanimously to sell property to Ocean City that the town had leased at 3304 Bay Ave. The land, which was home to the former American Legion Post 524, will be purchased for $890,000 by the city, according to a resolution outlining the sale from the freeholder board’s Jan. 29 meeting. Ocean City Public Information Officer Doug Bergen said on Wednesday, “The mayor and administration are grateful to county freeholders for their cooperation as we work toward final acquisition of this unused parcel.”He noted that “there are no immediate plans for any sort of demolition or construction.”American Legion Post 524 moved to 46th Street and West Avenue to a new building in 2018. Since then, the county looked to rent the property out, but nothing came to fruition, so it remained vacant.Ocean City officials have discussed possibly using the property to meet some of the city’s affordable housing obligations upon buying the site. “The parcel could potentially help Ocean City fulfill a small part of its affordable housing obligation and continue to provide a home for the Ocean City High School crew team’s dryland training program,” Bergen explained.Freeholder E. Marie Hayes, of Ocean City, said of the vote to approve the purchase of the property, “We are happy to see the American Legion in their great new location at 46th and West. With the former location vacant, it just made sense to work with Ocean City so they could acquire it.”In October, City Council introduced a series of ordinances to help the city meet its state-mandated “fair share” of affordable housing. The ordinances stemmed from a 2018 court settlement in which Ocean City agreed to provide affordable housing for low- and moderate-income residents.One ordinance set aside money to buy the property at 3304 Bay Ave.City Solicitor Dorothy McCrosson, seated next to Mayor Jay Gillian, tells City Council of potential plans to use the former American Legion hall site for affordable housing.Freeholder Director Freeholder Director Gerald M. Thornton said in an interview Wednesday that the county was happy to lease the property to the American Legion for many years and is equally pleased about selling it to Ocean City.“They (American Legion members) had it for a number of years and when it was vacant, I said we should put it on the market and see what happens,” Thornton said. “I am happy about Ocean City and their project. We have a great working relationship with Ocean City and are happy we could support them.”Thornton added that county officials want to assist Ocean City – especially since the city is dealing with what can be difficult requirements to meet when it comes to affordable housing obligations.“It is so very difficult. They all have difficulty with the mandate of affordable housing,” Thornton explained of the state’s municipalities. “The Mount Laurel decision really placed a burden on towns to comply. I know Ocean City and all of the other towns try to comply.” City Solicitor Dorothy McCrosson explained during a Council meeting in the fall of 2019 that the city has carefully crafted its affordable housing plan in a way that will allow new construction to blend in with the rest of the neighborhoods without “jamming up” the town with high-density projects. The city dramatically reduced its affordable housing obligation with the 2018 court-approved agreement to require 93 units, instead of 1,687, for low-income families, seniors and the disabled.
Troy Bayne piloted his Karl Kustoms Northern SportMod to victory after starting on the outside of the front row and the IMCA Hobby Stock feature event was as good as advertised, as the full field challenged for top honors. In the most exciting feature of the evening, Bob Chalupa was the early leader in the IMCA Sunoco Stock Car main event. Chalupa relinquished the lead to fourth row starter Mikey Dancer on the sixth lap. Osborn’s efforts were rewarded with the IMCA Modified feature victory. Osborn started on the pole and never looked back as he built cushions between himself and the field following each restart. NORTH PLATTE, Neb. (July 4) – Getting the chance to shine in front of an Independence Day crowd, four IMCA drivers punched their tickets to the winner’s circle at the Red, White and Boom Night of racing action at Lincoln County Raceway Saturday evening. Dancer had to work through traffic to gain the lead and checked out once he got there. Colton Osborn encountered heavier traffic coming from his fifth row starting spot and ran out of real estate making a move for the lead as the checkered flag waved. When the smoke cleared, Luke Wassom was in the winner’s circle. By Kelly Ninas