BARNEGAT, NJ – On Tuesday, the Barnegat Planning Board granted approval for the start of Phase 1 of Chris Vernon’s Compass Point Cottages at what was once the Shoreline Sand and Gravel site. Members of the community have expressed outrage the project received preliminary endorsement in the first place.

Charles Cunliffe has been one of the major opponents of the plans to build 777 pre-manufactured homes that come in on wheels. He questioned whether the planning board even understood that the cottages were essentially mobile homes. At Tuesday’s meeting, he learned that members knew exactly what the developer had in mind.

The Compass Point Project was the only item of business on the February planning board agenda that gave rise to discussion.  Last month's meeting was cut short during time allotted for the public to speak.. It was not only late in the evening, but one local resident shouted out inappropriate comments at the board and developer.   Other residents were unable to be heard, and the stage was set for round two.

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Chairman Jack Leonardo began the February planning board meeting with a written statement on last month's events.  He went over the rules of the open forum to the public and explained that if residents did not adhere to the five minutes allocated to speak, a police officer would be on standby to escort them away Ultimately, only a handful of residents got up to speak during the public forum section anyway

Seemingly aware of twelve-year-old Kyra Fauld’s disappointment that she wasn’t permitted to speak at last month’s meeting, Leonardo even invited her to the microphone. She declined.

Barnegat resident, Donald Weigle raised questions about several issues, including the prospect of a sidewalk for pedestrians along the bike path. He also asked about the timeline for removal of pipes that he says are infringing on the wetlands on the property. John Kornick, the engineer hired by the developer, stated that that plans for their removal are part of the site cleanup plan. He did not give a specified date.

Patrick Burns, who lives on Nautilus Drive, expressed his concerns about the additional traffic the project would bring to the area. He said the existing volume of traffic going through the area in the mornings and afternoons is already “very heavy and reckless.”

“If they go ahead and try to add more to the mix, it;s really going to jam things up,” Burns continued, “A lot of vehicles have been damaged, and hit.” 

Kurt Otto, the professional engineer advising the planning board, addressed the issue, stating  that “ a request to the applicant was to have it gated for emergency access point only pending any comments back from local police, fire and EMS.”

Otto also recommended the board that the applicant update their traffic impact statement as they progressed through the phases of the project. The applicant agreed.

When it came down to the vote for the go-ahead, Al Bille abstained. Board member He cited concerns over an issue with an additional Entrance on Pelican Road, while saying he was abstaining for a number of reasons

The Compass Point project will add to the number of over 55 communities west of the Garden State Parkway. It features 777 pre manufactured units and a 13,520 square foot recreational club house building with an indoor and outdoor pool, bocce ball court, pickleball and tennis courts, fire pits, and passive recreational walking and biking paths throughout the community. The clubhouse will also feature a bridge room, fitness center, library and a yoga studio.