Update on Money Island buyout status

Money Island NJ

There is renewed hub-bub this week about the status of state buyouts of homes at Money Island. This post is not meant as a complete rehash of the topic but rather just a short bullet point summary of what’s going on from out perspective. In the short term, nothing is changed. In the long term, we are all underwater.

  • I’ve talk with a lot of people inside and outside government about this issue over the past decade yet I have no official indication that the state is interested in acquiring more property in Downe other than residences. Yet that seems to be the implication of this week’s announcement by NJDEP.
  • I am advising property owners in other parts of Downe and Lawrence township but at this time I (personally or through BaySave Corporaion) do not have any financial interests in any of these properties. I do have the right of first refusal on some properties in both townships. None of those properties are involved in buyouts. These first refusal rights preceded and are unrelated to the current buyout process.
  • The state informally says that they are considering the 2012 offer to acquire the marina properties by gift and then leasing it back to the operators. This is a proposal I still support as being logical and sustainable.
  • BaySave’s 2015 report on progress toward sustainability was issued in draft form and is available to anyone by request. The report contains more information on the progress of properties owned by the marina. I may publish a copy online soon.
  • More property owners in Lawrence and Downe township have come to me for help and advice regarding possible buyouts.
  • The buyouts of some properties are moving forward.
  • Most property owners who are offered a buyout do accept the first offer.
  • Other than what is stated here and in other public spaces online I have no “inside information” on the process.
  • The state’s official forecast, confirmed by every other independent source, is that we will be inundated (i.e. underwater) by rising sea level within our lifetime.
  • Inundated areas like Money Island are presumed to be inappropriate for residential communities.
  • Inundated areas like Money Island can be appropriate for aquaculture and eco-tourism with government’s approval and support.
  • We are still looking for guidance from government on whether to stay and rebuild the businesses or sell to the open space initiative and move away.
  • The NJDEP and Cumberland County Department of Health has been enormously cooperative in helping us resolve these issues.
  • Downe Township has not offered any support or guidance in our business recovery and at times seems to be responding with obstacles. Many people presume this lack of support is due to the personal and legal history between me and the township. I am doing my best to bridge the communication gaps.
  • My best guess is that the aquaculture and harvesting businesses at Money Island will remain but the residences will disappear. Presumably, then, public access to the water would remain possible but the business model of a public access marina would need to change significantly in order to survive. Perhaps it would be like Bay Point? Or perhaps a Fortescue model would be more appropriate? We just don’t know yet.
  • There is no indication that any of this current discussion is related to last week’s storm. It is just coincidental that the storm triggered additional news and media coverage of the decade-old issue.
  • For more information on this topic see Steve Eisenhauer’s report.
Money Island's cleanup after last weekend's storm was reported in the Daily Journal
Money Island’s cleanup after last weekend’s storm was reported in the Daily Journal

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Tony

Tony is accountant for the marina, president of BaySave Foundation and treasurer for Delaware River Greenway Partnership Inc.

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