first_imgThe city is prepared to pay $200,000 to help block construction of a 5,740-square-foot luxury home on vacant land adjacent to the Ocean City Boardwalk at 19th Street.At its public meeting 7 p.m. Thursday (August 14) at City Hall, City Council will consider a resolution “that will authorize settlement of pending litigation and approve the purchase of the Schilling Estate’s property at 19th Street and the boardwalk,” according to a news release from Mayor Jay Gilian’s administration.The purchase price of the property would be $1,750,000. Neighbors of the property would pool together to pay $1,250,000. Another $300,000 would come from a state Green Acres grant. The balance of $200,000 would come from the city’s capital improvement funds. An accompanying bond ordinance also will be on the City Council agenda.“If approved, the property would be owned entirely by the City of Ocean City, placed on the city’s Green Acres inventory and protected from development in perpetuity,” according to the news release.The resolution focuses on a unique stretch of undeveloped land along the Ocean City Boardwalk between 19th and 20th streets. The central question: Is it beach or is it real estate?Commercial and residential properties abut the boardwalk for most of its 2.5-mile length.But Helen and Charles Schilling bought the three beachfront lots there in 1953 for $14,000 and never made any effort to develop them. The Schillings owned Shriver’s Salt Water Taffy, the Strand and Moorlyn theaters, parking lots and other properties on and off the Boardwalk.From the street, the properties look like beach — 19th Street ends at a bulkhead and there’s nothing but sand on the other side. From the air, the lots look a little more like real estate — a gap in a clean line of properties that touch the Boardwalk. To the north, between 18th and 19th streets, a similar set of undeveloped lots is owned by the city or by neighbors.Charles Schilling died in 1980 and Helen passed away in 1998. The couple had no children and no heirs, and the beneficiaries of her estate include Shore Memorial Hospital, Abington Hospital and the Ocean City Tabernacle.Most of the Schilling estate was sold within two or three years with the proceeds going to the charities. But the beachfront properties remained.The city offered $15,000 apiece for the lots in 2001. A group of neighbors later offered the estate $700,000 (and reportedly later an even higher price). But the offers were turned down. The representatives of the estate instead wanted to build a luxury home on the land.The state Department of Environmental Protection initially denied permission for the proposed project but later changed its mind amid a lawsuit.The state approved a Coastal Area Facilities Review Act (CAFRA) application that authorizes a two-story single family home of 5,740 square feet with a footprint of 2,870 square feet and a pool and detached garage.The city appealed the state’s decision.The purchase of the property for $1.75 million would preserve the land as open space and end the need for the city’s legal appeal.__________Sign up for OCNJ Daily’s free newsletter and breaking news alerts“Like” us on Facebook[ready_google_map id=’6′] The Schilling estate property lies between the Boardwalk and Wesley Avenue homes near 19th Street in Ocean City, NJ.last_img read more