Gill expressed gratitude toward Ocean City Council for passing an ordinance Thursday night that allows his group to begin redevelopment on the former Dan’s Dockside Marina and Restaurant on the 900 block of Palen Avenue.
The site has been abandoned since 2008. Before that, Gill and his wife Beverly were the owners from 1997-2000.
“We are lifelong residents,” said Gill, who is excited to get the project started at a time when he says there is no commercial infrastructure in the city.
“Without your cooperation, this would never have come to fruition,” he told council. “Now this gives me something to do and I can leave my son alone.”
The city has set aside a total of $2.6 million to purchase and redevelop the property, including the replacement of bulkheads due to current flooding issues, the replacement of two 12,000-gallon tanks and one 8,000-gallon tank, and remediation.
The Gills will redevelop the property, and will be responsible for or any costs that exceed $200,000.
They plan to erect a three-story building that will house a restaurant, common space and residential units.
Environmental activist Georgina Shanley expressed her concern with possible flooding in the area.
“We live in an age where people fail to see the connection between major storms and high flooding,” she said during the public comment portion of the meeting. “I think one big storm will wipe this away.”
She said she understands the desire for commercial ratables, but believes the project shouldn’t be developed along the coast. She said she doesn’t have an issue with the Gill Family, but she believes the people who want to see the project come to fruition should put up the money, rather than the city using taxpayers’ money.
The city has expressed no desire to have long-term ownership of the property. The life of the bond is seven years and it must be repaid in full. There are no tax abatements and no Payment In Lieu of Taxes (PILOT) associated with the project.
The arrangement is made possible by the New Jersey Redevelopment and Housing Law, which allows a governing body to engage in the redevelopment of a piece of land when it is clear conditions are not likely to be improved solely through the efforts of a private group.
“This is something that has been vetted for months and I’ve been in support of it for sometime,” Council President Anthony Wilson said.
“I understand your comments, but I still think it’s good for the area,” Council Vice President Michael Allegretto said.
Councilman Keith Hartzell called the project a “crowning achievement for the administration,” and Councilman Scott Ping said the project is a “crown jewel for the city” and there’s “no way for the public to lose.”
“I think the positives outweigh the negatives,” Councilman Peter Guinosso said.
Council approved the ordinance, 7-0.