What we'll be talking about in 2013
Yesterday, I revisited the top five Jersey Shore stories of 2012. Now it's time to look at what will be issues in 2013. Surprised they match a lot of what happened last year? That's because of one thing: Sandy.
Towns with big, wide dune systems saw far less damage from Sandy than towns that did not, so expect dunes to be a big topic of 2013. We'll see this from two fronts: towns re-vamping their dune programs, and from lingering court cases from people who sued over dunes that saved their homes but they say they block their ocean views (Yes, really).
2. FEMA flood maps.
Last week, FEMA released elevation requirements that could push some people out of shore towns for good. The Philadelphia Inquirer had this heartbreaking report of families from Brigantine who will either need to raise their homes, pay at least $10,000 more a year in flood insurance, or leave. The make-up of our shore towns is going to change.
3. Jersey Shore residents are not all rich people.
I spent some time over the holidays debunking this one. Many of those who oppose funding shore recovery say that it's the playground of the rich and they should take care of it, but most of the towns hit badly in Monmouth and Ocean Counties are home to year-round, working class folks and retirees. Further south, in Brigantine and Ventnor, many are casino employees who are already suffering from lost hours and wages as the casino business continues to slump post-Sandy. Expect more on this in 2013.
4. Where will the tourists go?
This is an extremely touchy topic, but one that we'll need to confront: there are less rental options at the North Jersey Shore, so where will those tourists go? Everyone I've talked to in South Jersey shore towns who is connected to tourism said that it was too soon to talk about it, or didn't want to talk about it because they didn't want to offend our neighbors to the north. Smart move. Representatives from Ocean City, Maryland have been doing interviews about their plans to attract Northern Jersey Shore visitors. What a crass thing to do. I'll be reporting back on this in February, which is when most shore real estate folks will have an idea of who's renting for the upcoming summer.
5. Beach Tags
This just isn't going away. It should.
The financial news still isn't good. I predict a bankruptcy sometime in 2013. Remember, this doesn't mean Revel will close. But it's not good for Atlantic City, or for the state. Will a Revel bankruptcy have N.J. re-thinking its reliance on casino gambling for revenue? Probably not. But it's something to explore if it happens.
What do you think we'll be talking about in 2013?