North Wildwood eyes homes in business zone to spur development

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NORTH WILDWOOD—Some lots in North Wildwood’s central business district, like the one at Fourth and New Jersey avenues, have sat empty for years.

Now, city officials hope to draw new development there.

During the Jan. 21 meeting of North Wildwood’s City Council, members unanimously passed a resolution that directed the planning board to begin investigating possible changes to North Wildwood’s master plan, particularly in regard to the Central Business District along New Jersey Avenue.

These changes, Mayor Patrick Rosenello said, are expected to help promote development on large, vacant parcels of land along the main street. Most notably, one of the changes may be to allow single-family homes or duplexes along the street.

“As it stands right now everything in that stretch is zoned commercial,” Rosenello said. “This is being done to see if something can be recommended to address those large vacant parcels.”

Rosenello said that the last time the city reexamined its master plan, it made changes to the Central Business District and allowed residential units above commercial businesses along New Jersey Avenue.

All of New Jersey Avenue, from the intersection at New York Avenue to 26th Avenue, is the Central Business District, Rosenello said.

While the mayor said there is a strong possibility that the planning board will suggest that the city again make changes to its land use ordinance to allow residential development on those large, vacant parcels, that is not yet set in stone. The planning board’s proposals were expected to be made public Jan. 29, and a public hearing on the changes is scheduled for the next planning board meeting Feb. 12.

Because of that, Robert Davis, chairman of the planning board, declined to comment on its proposals until the documentation was public record.

Rosenello did say that the city is not looking to add condos or town houses as an option on New Jersey Avenue.

“I would anticipate that we are not looking for additional condominiums or large multifamily type structures,” Rosenello said. “New Jersey Avenue is not an area where we are looking to encourage high density residential properties. That was not the direction we wanted to go.”

He added that those types of residential structures are zoned to be developed closer to the beach.

“So, for the remainder of the town, there is more of a residential feel to it,” Rosenello said.

Earlier this year, the city was also named the second best place in the United States to purchase a vacation home by the Wall Street Journal. Nearby Ocean City took the number one slot.

Rosenello said that the designation suggests there is a demand for residential property, such as single-family homes and duplexes, in the city.

The next planning board meeting is scheduled for 7 p.m. Feb. 12 at City Hall, 901 Atlantic Ave. 

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