By Jay Cook |HIGHLANDS – Still recovering from damages caused by Super Storm Sandy five years ago, the borough is taking steps to possibly upgrade a pair of forlorn properties within town lines: one in the hills and another along the bay.The Highlands Land Use Board announced on July 12 that they received bids for two different requests for proposals (RFP) to look at designating both Captain’s Cove Marina and Shadow Lawn Trailer Park as official “areas in need of redevelopment.”Both sites have been regular agenda items at Borough Council and Land Use Board meetings throughout the past decade, whether it be from plans to change zoning ordinances or for infrastructure upgrades in the post-Sandy era.“Last year, it was one of the priorities of the council to really do something with these two properties,” said Highlands Borough Council President Carolyn Broullon.Mobile homes like these cover nearly 8 acres of the developable land in Shadow Lawn Trailer Park.The council sent a recommendation to the Land Use Board in December 2016 for the committee to look at how the two properties could potentially be redeveloped through the Local Redevelopment and Housing Law.By meeting one of seven associated criteria, the designation is designed to supersede existing municipal zoning laws, a move that potentially greases the skids for cleaning up blighted areas. Per county tax records, the property was valued at over $2.2 million this year.Broullon concurred, saying “if (Shadow Lawn) is deemed to be an area in need of redevelopment, it opens up a wide scope for the property owner, as well as the borough.”The other parcel under discussion is Captain’s Cove Marina, located at 2 Washington Avenue in the downtown section of town.Per Captain’s Cove’s website, the marina has called Highlands home for more than 110 years. It has 92 boat slips for boats up to 38 feet long, six slips on floating docks, and three self-operating boat lifts, as stated on the webpage.According to meeting minutes, Fred Rosiack, the property owner, said at a November 2016 Land Use Board meeting that his marina had been almost 50 percent destroyed after Sandy.Captain’s Cove in HighlandsHe noted that he had two potential buyers for the parcel who backed out when learning the property was zoned in a residential area and not for a marina use. Rosiack also said he has been looking to reinvigorate the café located near the bulkhead, yet would need a variance to do so.Damages from Sandy are still visible today at Captain’s Cove Marina. Pilings along the Washington Avenue side are snarled and deteriorated. Only a few slipholders have steps to reach the ladders in their slips. The café, as Rosiack had said to the Land Use Board, is virtually unusable – much of the siding is ripped off, showing a previous coat of weathered red paint beneath.Rosiack also did not return calls for comment by press time.Broullon said the borough is in its ver y early stages going for ward with the redevelopment area designation, and bringing on planners for each site moves that process forward.Broullon added that Highlands “could do so much more” with the two properties.“If they’re developed in a way that brings in more for our residents, that’s a bigger tax base that can help the whole borough,” she said.This article was first published in the July 20-27, 2017 print edition of The Two River Times. Both the ordinance change and development project led to longstanding litigation spanning over four years. Pauline Jennings, a resident fighting the ordinance change, sued the borough and Highlander Development over the change, and eventually won when her case reached state Superior Court. That decision threw out the zoning update and Highlander Development’s building application.Representatives with Highlander Development did not respond to requests for comment by press time.Recently, borough documents show an impetus to redevelop the Shadow Lawn property. Per a 2016 Master Plan Reexamination Report, the mobile home park “is one of the few tracts of land remaining in the borough.”The report promotes redevelopment of the property through mixed use, considering “its proximity to Route 36 and multifamily home districts and its location at the top of the hill.” The future of Shadow Lawn Trailer Park has bounced around borough meetings for at least the past decade.According to a Housing Element and Fair Share Plan report adopted by Highlands last year, Shadow Lawn is an approximately 120-unit mobile home park on 13 acres of developed and undeveloped land. It sits in the hills along Route 36, between the highway and the Eastpointe Condominium complex, a 14-story residential apartment building.The only ingress to the mobile home park is directly across from the QuickChek rear exit on Ocean Boulevard, near where Route 36 splits westbound, traveling towards Middletown. The main road through the development is Laurel Drive.According to court documents, the Highlands Borough Council looked to change zoning ordinances at Shadow Park in 2007 to allow for uses other than just a mobile home park, its current zoning. There were residents concerned over potential high-rise development at the site, yet the ordinance was ultimately approved in December 2007.Highlander Development Group, the property owner, came to the Land Use Board two years later with a plan to build three high-rise residential buildings with 282 units, a swimming pool, clubhouse, a multistory garage and other associated site improvements. The plan was ultimately approved in October 2010, per Land Use Board documents.
The Nelson Leafs are currently the best team in the entire Kootenay International Junior Hockey League.The Green and White boast a league-best 32-11-2-1 record heading into the final three weeks of the season.However, the season could fall like a house of cards should the Leafs falter in the final six games, beginning Friday in Fruitvale against the defending KIJHL champs.“I believe so,” said Leaf coach Frank Maida when asked about the February games.“We’ve got a big weekend coming up against BV and (at the end of the season against Castlegar) these are the top three teams in the league I think those games will go a long way to deciding who wins the Murdoch.”Nelson hosts the Hawks in a return engagement Saturday at 7 p.m. in the NDCC Arena.The Leafs then travel to meet Revelstoke and Sicamous on the road next weekend before concluding the season with a home-and-home series against the rival Rebels from Castlegar.Nelson missed out on a great opportunity to make the final six-game ride a little easier when the club lost 4-0 at home to Revelstoke Grizzlies.Once again the Leafs outshot the Grizzlies but could score when it counted.“We’re focusing not just on the offence but also playing a full game in all facets of the game,” Maida, trying to sugarcoat the fact the Leafs have difficulty scoring of late, including Sunday’s shutout loss. “We just want to play our game and everything will take care of itself.”It’s now or never for the Leafs.First up is the Hawks, a team Nelson holds a 4-2 season series against and has outscored 41-26.Beaver Valley is a much different team than the one Nelson smoked 12-0 earlier this season.The Hawks, trailing Nelson by five points, now have one of the most potent offences in the league thanks to the addition of Ryan Edwards (18 points in six games) and high-scoring Dallas Calvin (second in league scoring with 70 points).Nelson may get some much-needed infusion into the lineup with the return of center Matthew Naka.The Vanderhoof star has been sorely missed since breaking an ankle in a freak accident before Christmas.“We’ve got guys coming back off injury and everyone is skating so hopefully we’ll have a full lineup for Friday,” Maida explained.ICE CHIPS: Expect to see a lot of Marcus Beesley down the stretch in goal. The 20-year-old Prince George native was traded for to backstop the Leafs in the playoffs. . . . Castlegar travels to the East Kootenay to face the Columbia Valley Rockies Friday and Golden Rockets Saturday. . . . One player the Leafs must get going is captain and leading scorer Colton Schell. The veteran winger has nine points and two goals since Christmas.