Assembly Panel Holds Hearing On Sandy Economic Impact
By Phil Gregory, WBGO News
Trenton. December 13, 2012
Hurricane Sandy is expected to have a long-term economic impact on the Jersey Shore.
Real estate consultant Jeffrey Otteau told an Assembly committee that all the damage Sandy caused means there will be fewer seasonal rentals available at the shore this summer. He also says the beaches are smaller now.
“There will simply be fewer people packing up their belongings, getting into the car, and driving down to the shore for a Saturday, for a week, for a month, or for a season because it’s not going to be as pleasant an experience as it was before.”
Otteau expects it will take several years to repair the storm damage.
He anticipates an increase in the number of homes sold at below market prices in the shore area. That’s because homeowners insurance was not enough to cover the losses or because owners worked at businesses that were destroyed by the storm and are now unemployed.
Marilyn Scholossbach owns four restaurants in Ocean and Monmouth Counties. She says her insurance probably won’t be enough to pay off her vendors and rebuild.
“Right now I have 75 full time employees out of work. By summertime I’ll have 250 employees out of work. They way that our story looks to us at this particular moment we won’t make it to summer.”
Belmar Mayor Matt Doherty says the most important thing for businesses is to have the boardwalk rebuilt in time for the summer season.
“Without that tourists will still come to the Jersey Shore, but they’re going to go to a different town. Business owners in Belmar recognize that it’s not just if we don’t have a beachfront it not just we lose one season, they’re going to lose multiple seasons.”