Dateline 9/21/07:  Ventnor's Auction of 6 N. Hillside Ave. Fizzles

What happened?  The large sign went up at the front of the lot well in advance, the minimum bid of $125,000 seemed well-calculated given the tax assessed valuation of $213,600, and any location just two blocks from the beach, and only a few doors from the bay would seem highly desirable.  An article in the Atlantic City Press on Thursday 9/20/07 suggested eager bidders were lining up.  It quoted Ventnor's solicitor John Scott Abbott as stating that $160,000 had been spent to acquire the property in May 2003, and further sums were spent to knock down a duplex which stood on the 33'x75'  lot and clean up the site.  City Administrator Andrew McCrosson indicated optimism that there would be a robust auction, citing five callers who had contacted him with interest in purchasing, and hearing reports from other town officials about receiving similar contacts.  

However, the auction was the first item on the agenda, there were no bidders in attendance, and the lot remains in city ownership.  A check of the Asbury Park Press' Data Universe website shows that City of Ventnor currently owns 151 parcels of land within city boundaries, some of them readily identifiable as the sites of public buildings or wetlands or never-developed parcels of land held in reserve.  But others raise questions about the City as owner/landlord.  Several were acquired with proceeds from grants and are situated in the Northeast neighborhood which Ventnor targeted for Redevelopment before the Commission's chosen co-developers Pulte Homes and Alliance Companies pulled out of the plans in 2005, not long after litigations had been resolved on what were favorable terms for City of Ventnor.  A subcommittee consisting of Julie Mealo, John VanDuyne, Jay Cooke, Chief Sabo and Engineer Richard Carter was formed at the August 8, 2007 meeting of the City of Ventnor Planning Commission to look into how much of the original Redevelopment plans can still be salvaged, with eminent domain still on the table.  The scheduled September 11th meeting for the Planning Commission was cancelled.