Smaller beaches, fewer vacationers expected at N.J. Shore

    Hurricane Sandy is expected to have a long-term economic impact on the Jersey Shore. Immediately, it will mean smaller beaches and a shortage of places to vacation.

    Real estate consultant Jeffrey Otteau told a New Jersey Assembly committee Thursday that all the damage Sandy caused means there will be fewer seasonal rentals available at the Shore this summer.

    “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,” he said.

    Jersey Shore business owners also are worried.

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    Marilyn Schlossbach, who owns four restaurants in Ocean and Monmouth counties, said 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,” she said. “The way that our story looks to us at this particular moment, we won’t make it to summer.”

    Otteau expects it will take several years to repair the storm damage.

    He also anticipates an increase in the number of homes sold at below-market prices in the Shore area 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.

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