WARETOWN, NJ – Redevelopment projects represent different things to different people. Some see it as a means of economic revitalization of an area. Others fear it is the start to overdevelopment in quaint communities like Ocean Township.

Property owners Herman and Marsha Zell are scheduled to appear before the Township’s Redevelopment Committee on September 21, 2020, at 7 pm. The couple owns property on Route 9 by the back entrance of Greenbriar and on the same side of the street as Zanos.  It does not run to the corner of Seminole Avenue as someone else owns that property.

The Zells plan includes a proposal for 102 owner-occupied townhouses that will be offered for sale starting at least $300,000.  An additional 18 affordable units will be constructed as mandated by New Jersey state law. The entire project will front on Route 9 with one road for ingress and egress.

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“No roads within the development will connect with roads within Pebble Beach,” shared Diane  Ambrosio, Municipal Clerk/Municipal Administrator.

The proposal calls for construction of a small cabana, pool, and passive recreation for resident use. An 8,550 square foot shopping center could bring in more businesses into the local municipality.

A number of residents have claimed the project would mean filling in wetlands to build it. Ambrosio dismissed the rumors as untrue.

“No building is taking place on wetlands,” Ambrosio asserted. “All construction is on uplands.”

Part of the problem is that people sometimes get their properties mixed up. Another application for townhouses was considered on a different section of Route 9.  It was for a smaller number of homes and never received approval.

And, then there’s the whole debate about affordable housing units. Not everyone understands the requirement for them – or the need.

The fear of overdevelopment isn’t the only issue. Some see the concept of losing open spaces as impacting natural habitats and harming the environment.

At the most recent meeting of the Board of Education, Board President Shawn Denning, Jr. expressed a general opinion about the impact of new development within the township. He sees it as means of financially adding to the district – as long as new teachers won’t need to be added as a result.

A petition started earlier today already has 94 signatures with a goal of 100. Traffic and the impact of township services are among the issues cited to contest the project.

Township officials face a challenge of their own. They anticipate a large attendance at Monday night’s redevelopment meeting. Governor Phil Murphy’s executive orders allow for only 25 percent of room capacity indoors.

The meeting was originally planned inside the Waretown Fire Department.  It is now moved to Corliss Street, where the road will be blocked off the traffic. This is next to the firehouse at 117 Wells Mill Road.

BYOC has nothing to do with bringing beverages for consumption.  Attendees should bring their own chairs and wear masks. An added suggestion is to spray for mosquitos in advance of the meeting.

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