|View from the top of the Mantoloking Bridge looking east.|
January 27, 2013.
This begs the question about what the summer rental season will be. Many of the bungalows and rental homes in Ortley Beach, Normandy Beach and Lavallette were flooded in the storm, while others were completely lost to it. A reasonable estimate would be that 90% of all the homes in the area suffered severe damage from flooding and it will take some time for rental inventory to rise again. There is also a growing fear among area residents that new regulations and insurance costs will price middle class owners out of the area and that the small rental home everyone who has ever been to the Jersey Shore is familiar with will eventually cease to exist. This would be as great a tragedy to the memories of those of us who grew up here as the storm itself.On January 23, Governor Christie announced new regulations that are onerous to homeowners without a large cash reserve, and many fear that we have begun the inexorable drift to a shoreline that looks like the Outer Banks in North Carolina – the small clusters of summer homes and bungalows being replaced by larger homes on larger lots.
|A summer home on Inlet Drive in Point Pleasant Beach.|
The power and fury of the Atlantic Ocean is now a stark reality to the tens of thousands of residents who never experienced this type of storm before. For years, residents in the newly developed areas of the Jersey Shore were warned that a storm would eventually come and wreak havoc, and that storm came on October 29, 2012.
"I'm doing the best I can to help folks," Christie said during Wednesday’s announcement in Seaside. "But the government cannot be the guarantor of a good result for everyone. I can't fix every problem. Any politician who gets behind a mic and tells you they can fix every problem is a liar."
|Like this row of bungalows in Ortley Beach, many homes were flooded|
but left standing.
At this time in a normal season in Point Pleasant Beach – an area that was completely flooded – ten homes would be on the market for summer rental and there are currently six, which is an encouraging number. Indications are that Point Pleasant Beach will see the full inventory of summer rentals available by Memorial Day. Areas in Manasquan (to the north) and the Brick and Toms River areas on the barrier island (to the south) may see a smaller percentage of homes available, but the situation is not as dire as I thought it was before speaking with Kathryn Fencik, a Sales Rep at the Weichert office in Point Pleasant Beach. "This summer, the beach will be here, the boardwalk will be here, and the fun will be here,” Fencik said, in spite of the fact that there are still hurdles to navigate throughout the region.
|Looking south along the boardwalk in Point Pleasant, from the Inlet to|
Jenkinsons. Picture was taken December 30, 2012.
The commercial area of the boardwalk in Point Pleasant is on track to be opened by the time the season is in full swing, and in fact, many businesses on the boardwalk itself are open for business now. The area to the north of Jenkinson's and the commercial area may still not be ready until after the season starts. The Aquarium at Jenksinon’s, which took quite a blow from the storm, is scheduled to re-open for Easter weekend. (Easter weekend is traditionally the start of the weekend season along the boardwalk, with Memorial Day weekend heralding the start of the full-time season).
According to Fencik, one change we may see this year is that summer rentals of inland properties (a mile or so from the beach) may become attractive alternatives to vacationers who are shut out of their traditional Jersey Shore vacation because of diminished inventories.
|Brick Twp, between Rt 35 and the ocean.|
Another home in Point Pleasant Borough sustained minor damage and the selling price has been reduced from $600,000 to $400,000.
While there is still much work to be done, and there are still many people who are reeling from the effects of Hurricane Sandy, a trip down Route 35 on the barrier island tells the story of a resilient region picking itself up, dusting itself off, and getting on with the job of rebuilding the Jersey Shore.
Advice for vacationers for this summer is to still come “down the Shore” but to plan early.
All pictures this page © 2013 Jack Sharkey
All pictures this page © 2013 Jack Sharkey