ATLANTIC CITY — A public hearing for the Casino Reinvestment Development Authority’s rooming house conversion plan has been scheduled for Feb. 7.
The hearing will begin at 10 a.m. in the CRDA offices on Pennsylvania Avenue.
At its monthly meeting in January, the CRDA board of directors voted in favor of a preliminary determination of project eligibility, putting in motion the required steps for implementing a plan to deal with substandard rooming houses in the city. The goal is to reduce the number of rooming houses while improving the quality of low-income housing by either funding conversions or demolitions.
“The issues created by the overabundance of rooming house units have become a deterrent to development and redevelopment within the city,” the public notice of the hearing stated. “It is anticipated that the Vacant Rooming House Conversion Project will encourage developers to purchase and improve these properties, help reduce the overwhelming burden of rooms in Atlantic City, protect Atlantic City residents by providing improved housing conditions and revitalize numerous properties in Atlantic City.”
CRDA estimated 68 properties in Atlantic City were being operated as rooming houses with a total of 492 rooms. Only 30 of those rooming houses have proper municipal land use approvals, for 302 permitted rooms.
Both the number of people occupying rooming houses in Atlantic City and their proximity to one another in certain neighborhoods violate city regulations, which mirror those found in the state’s Rooming and Boarding House Act.
The total number of people living in rooming homes cannot exceed half of 1% of the city’s population, estimated in 2018 to be 38,429. The regulations also prohibit rooming houses within 1,000 feet of each other.
CRDA has already facilitated the conversion of 13 properties to other uses and the closing or demolition of 10 rooming houses in Atlantic City.
Police responded to more than 800 calls for service to Atlantic City’s rooming houses in 2018.
The CRDA has zoning and land use authority over the Tourism District, which includes the Boardwalk, the Marina District and much of the city’s business district.