Land transfer with County Complete, now a final step towards acquiring a surf club – Toms River, NJ Shorebeat

Demolition begins at Joey Harrison’s Surf Club on December 3, 2021 (Photo: Daniel Nee)

Toms River officials have fully executed the sale of the land to Ocean County which will be used to fund part of the cost of the purchase of the former Joey Harrison Surf Club property in Ortley Beach.

Considered one of the last remaining waterfront preservation opportunities in the state, Toms River will use the state’s Blue Acres program funds along with the sale of county land to purchase the old nightclub, its property in surrounding seafront as well as a parking lot across the street to keep as a public beach. The township also plans to expand its promenade in the future. The club has been widely demolished over the past week, as we have chronic in one number videos.

Tuesday’s closing, which took place at the Berry, Sahradnik, Kotzas & Benson law firm in Toms River, the firm that represents the county government, was for $ 1.88 million transfer of 167 acres of land from township property to county property. The plots are located in two separate areas: one strip near Cattus Island County Park and another near Ocean County College. The portion of Cattus Island, which consists primarily of wetlands, will be preserved as an extension of the park, while the 86 acres north and west of the college will serve as a buffer zone, although the gate will be theoretically left open so the college can use it decades into the future if needed.

The specific properties ceded to the county were:

  • Block 1022, Lots 2.03 and 2.04
  • Block 1026, Lots 27-30

All aspects of the Surf Club transaction are expected to be completed by the end of 2021, Mayor Maurice “Mo” Hill said. The remainder of the $ 7.3 million land purchase will be funded through the state’s Blue Acres program.

Hill and several City Council members, including outgoing City Councilor Maria Maruca – who has represented the Barrier Island neighborhood for years – attended the closing. Hill credited Maruca with helping facilitate the preservation effort, and also gave credit to the Ortley Beach Voters and Taxpayers Association, which mounted a lobbying campaign for the purchase and even funded mediators to help negotiate a deal.

“Without the tenacity of Maria Maruca, the persistence of the OBVTA residents, and the cooperation of the Ocean County Commissioners, the beach club would likely have been turned into mansions or condos,” Hill said. “Through their efforts and creativity, the property will be preserved for the enjoyment of all and the quality of life in Toms River will be improved.”

The final stage of the property purchase process will close with the Barcelona family, owners of the club for decades, which should take place in the coming days.