Friday, March 18, 2011

Redevelopment Woes Strike Familiar Refrain

Since moving here 11 years ago, I've heard people complain that the same issues plague this town decade after decade. No matter how people try to avoid mistakes, they say, the leaders invariably repeat the same mistakes. My radio show was in some ways meant to help change that through sharing information.
But just now in the course of decluttering my house, I came across a 2003 Open Letter from Asbury Radio (then known as Restore Radio) published in The Coaster. The year was 2003. The Waterfront Redevelopment Agreement was passed the previous fall and the State Dept of Environmental Protection was reviewing the City's (CAFRA) application to execute the redevelopment plan. The department's job was to determine how the City's plan to develop the oceanfront would ecologically impact the fragile coastal area and its inhabitants.
From my research and talks with City residents and others, many of whom voiced their concerns weekly over Asbury Radio, I formed a list of concerns about the proposed plan. It's eery to see how many points in my letter are the very flaws the City has listed in the Spring of 2011 as reasons why it wants to dissolve and replace the very same plan. I hope posting it will stimulate more to participate in the process.
 This time the City has formed a Waterfront Redevelopment committee to accept input from different groups. But the City also held numerous public meetings, carefully recording resident input, before passing the flawed plan in place now.
Will the City's leaders really listen to and act on the Committee's concerns? People have a right to be skeptical and perhaps get some guarantees that resident concerns will be resolved, leaders will resign or in other ways offer the public compensation for their mistakes and that the City will end its futile cycle.   

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