Little Egg Harbor Township Amends Development Ordinance

By Pat Johnson | Jun 20, 2012

The Little Egg Harbor Township Committee introduced an amendment to the planned residential development ordinance to close the loophole they have been told exists by their planner, John Maczuga.

The action taken during the June 14 committee meeting was of interest to many residents of Sea Oaks in attendance who have been fighting a proposed 29-townhouse development on a portion of the golf course in the midst of their community. The township planning board denied that proposal, by Sea Oaks Golf Course owner Joseph Mezzina, at its June 7 meeting.

Sea Oaks is currently composed of 376 detached homes in the PRD zone, a special zone that allows for cluster housing at higher densities than would normally be allowed in the township as long as a percentage of the development is left open space – in this case, the Sea Oaks Golf Course. But Mezzina’s professionals contend a loophole in the ordinance would allow them to build housing on portions of the golf course because of density requirements. Mezzina may appeal the planning board decision.

Township engineer Jim Oris said the amendment limits future units from being added to a development already completed in the PRD zone. But the amendment would not apply to the Sea Oaks townhouse matter if it is appealed.

The amended ordinance now goes to the planning board for approval and then back to the committee for final reading and a public hearing on June 28.

The same board members who heard the Sea Oaks application (six members recused themselves) will have to vote on the PRD amendment.

Committeeman Art Midgley got an unexpected laugh from the audience when he announced that the next Senior Advisory Committee meeting will be held Monday, June 25 at the Sea Oaks Club House and will feature a representative from the National Alliance on Mental Illness.

On Tuesday, June 26 at 7 p.m., Animal Control Officer George Garbaravage will be the speaker at the Board of Health meeting, added Midgley.

The mayor and committee awarded a $61,555 contract to MNC General Contracting of Old Bridge to make sidewalk improvements including handicapped ramps at 15 intersections on Valley Forge Drive in Mystic Shores. A 2011 Community Development Block Grant will pay for $42,000 of the contract, with the remaining $18,555 coming from a previous bond ordinance.

In order not to lose control of $375,000 in COAH developer fees collected as of 2009, the township must move on providing local affordable housing units or forfeit the money to the state.

In light of this, the committee authorized a memorandum of understanding with the Department of Community Affairs to create a Special Needs Housing Partnership.

Oris said the DCA will develop and administer a program to rehabilitate existing housing and the money must be spent in Little Egg Harbor. He was not yet up to speed Thursday night on how local residents might apply for this rehabilitation housing program or what it entails.

The township has more developer fees collected in the COAH fund since 2009 but is not under the gun to spend that money.

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