BARNEGAT, NJ - As one of several senior living communities in the Township, Brighton at Barnegat offers its share of amenities. Last night’s Planning Board approval of the construction of an on-site pavilion affords residents one more benefit.

The pavilion converts empty space into a more conducive area to facilitate outdoor events. Its use is intended solely for members of the community.

Timing plays a significant factor in the construction of any structure. According to Kristin Vest, Community Manager of Hometown America, residents of Brighton at Barnegat could take advantage of the proposed pavilion within as little as one week.

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“We weren’t initially aware that we needed the Planning Board’s approval,” admitted Vest. “We already have the permits in place and were just waiting for the okay from this Board before we proceed.”

Vest explained that Amish builders plan to take on the project. “They move quickly,” she shared. “They should be finished in no time.”

Planning Board authorities posed questions before voting on the proposal brought by Vest as a representative of the community. First, came the issue of funding.

Comprised of prefabricated houses, Brighton at Barnegat’s business model differs from many other over 55+ communities within the Township.  Hometown America owns the land on the property where the homes are located.  Residents pay the landlord monthly community fees.

“Community members won’t pay towards the cost of the pavilion,” said Vest. She estimated that Hometown America would spend a total of $50K for its erection.

Planning Board member and Township Committeeman Albert Bille remarked on Vest’s revelation.  “This represents an improvement as far as the relationship between the landlord and renters,” he shared.

Bille requested that Vet notify him upon completion of the pavilion so the Township could celebrate with a grand opening event.

Planning Board Posed Other Questions and Comments

Scott D. Taylor, AICP is a certified planner and one of the professionals who provides advice to Barnegat’s Planning Board. He offered both commentary and suggestions related to the proposal for the pavilion construction.

“It is an allowable accessory according to zoning ordinances,” confirmed Taylor.

Meanwhile. Taylor expressed concerns about access between the community’s clubhouse and the proposed structure.

“It needs a more accessible route between the two,” Taylor explained. “Either asphalt or concrete should be placed to make it wheelchair accessible.”

Planning Board member Louis Fischer asked if the pavilion would be outfitted with electricity.

“There won’t be any electricity,” said Vest. “It’s just too much money. Atlantic Electric advised us that it would cost $10K to include electricity for the new pavilion.”

Fischer recommended that Hometown at least consider the installation of electrical conduits. “This way the concrete won’t need to be dug up if there’s a later decision to add electricity.”

Ultimately, the Township Planning Board voted unanimously to allow construction of the pavilion at Brighton at Barnegat. Taylor’s suggestion regarding an accessibility route was also adapted as part of the final approval.

Stephanie A. Faughnan is a local journalist and Director of Writefully Inspired, a professional writing and resume service. Feel free to contact her at