Villa Maria by the Sea, Stone Harbor

Last night, the Stone Harbor Zoning Board approved the application of the Sisters, Servants of the Immaculate Heart of Mary for the replacement of their retreat house.

Copies of architect’s plans and renderings are posted on the Borough of Stone Harbor web site:  Zoning Application Villa Maria

Sister James Dolores, along with her professional legal and engineering team, presented a comprehensive plan that has the support of neighbors and the community.


The current land area is 9 acres, and is privately owned by the IHM order.  This is not a tax exempt property- the sisters pay property taxes to the Borough of Stone Harbor.

4 acres will remain under the ownership of the order to be utilized for their new retreat house and accessory buildings.  Because they are dramatically scaling down the structure, the lot coverage will be just 1.5% of the total land area.

The new buildings will meet flood elevation codes, be ADA compliant, and functional year round with central heat and air conditioning (amenities currently lacking in the existing building).

There are 2 “paper streets” on the parcel:  First Avenue, which will be vacated by the IHM order to allow for proper underground drainage equipment; and 112th Street, which will become a through street to the beach (with an access path over the dune).

Along the south side of 112th Street and on the corner of 111th and Second Avenue, a total of 13 single family lots will become available for sale.  All lots are in compliance with the Res-A zoning for the neighborhood.

The sale of the 13 lots will provide funds for construction of the retreat house, as well as create an endowment to maintain the property into the future.

Yes, I will be sad to see the demolition of this beautiful landmark…yet the plan makes sense.  The sisters will remain in Stone Harbor with well deserved modern comforts.

I will always be grateful for my long history with the building and relationships with the kind sisters.




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