Ocean City Smart Growth invites anybody interested in slowing the pace and density of development in Ocean City to attend a 30-minute meeting at 6 p.m. Thursday (April 30) at the Ocean City Free Public Library (Room N116).
The group was formed in early April and is advocating for decreased development density, increased single-family homes and protection of the environment in Ocean City.
Participants are invited to bring issues and ideas to the table on Thursday.
One tool the group hopes to use is the Trust for Public Land, a nonprofit organization that raises money to create parks and to protect land.
Helen Plourde McSweeny, one of the group’s founders, spoke to City Council on Thursday about the Trust.
She is a resident of the 400 block of Central Avenue and neighbor of the vacant Palermo’s Family Market on Asbury Avenue, which is tentatively under contract with a developer who hopes to build seven duplexes on the property.
“For five years, I’ve been looking at it and thinking how can I turn this useless piece of property into something good, something that would be good for the whole community,” she told council members in public comment.
When the price tag fell to one third of the original $6 million asking price, McSweeny said she thought there just might be a way. She suggested the Trust for Public Land is a possible solution for the Palermo’s property and others.
Ocean City resident Mary Lou Newnam told City Council that the Trust has completed more than 175 land conservation projects in New Jersey, protecting 28,000 acres.
She said the changes she’s seen in Ocean City in the past 15 to 20 years are unsettling.
“I hope to be able to stay here and see my grandchildren come here and have a place where it’s not so congested that the quality of life is really diminished to a great degree,” Newnam said, summing up the sentiments of the Smart Growth group.