The Casino Reinvestment Development Authority’s highly representative-of-the-community board of directors voted to give themselves more time to think about it before they approved a request for a variance to build a duplex—a duplex—at 206 Vermont Avenue in Atlantic City’s South Inlet.
The lot is currently zoned for resort commercial development, a legacy of the casino boom years when people thought someone might build a megaresort or big high-rise on Vermont Avenue (though “Of course we now recognize that won’t happen”). CRDA has zoning authority because the land is in the tourism district.
206 Vermont is currently a little vegetable patch, on an amazingly barren and desolate stretch of land in the shadow of the (formerly $2.4 billion) former Revel casino. Approving a modest, two-family house on such valuable real estate would set a new precedent, board members remarked, after noting they’d all seen presentations from big developers (presumably) for the football-fields worth of vacant lots.
Some CRDA members didn’t know—or said they didn’t know—what was presently on the lot (some tomato plants, it looks like)—or who owned it (the guys who developed Formica Way) or what exactly those people planned to do with the property (though the plans were pretty clear) but they did know the land was on the Atlantic seaboard, at least, and that undeveloped land on the New Jersey coast is scarce, and probably very valuable, too valuable to permit working-class persons to live on it in a duplex without some serious forethought.
“Quite a view down there,” as one of them put it.
As has been noted, nobody knows why CRDA likes vacant lots (not even CRDA!). We only know that they do like them. And this one is likely to remain vacant a little longer.
On the other hand, the tomato plants seemed to be doing ok still.