As community members in New Jersey, we wanted to share news about the land development approved by Toms River. Here’s a brief summary of the news as it appeared:
In April of 2016, the Toms River City Council voted upon and approved to invest $10.3 million for five parcels of land as a way to limit the amount of housing currently being built in the North Dover, NJ area. Even though the Township Council approved, not all members voted in favor of the proposal.
Nels Luthman, a local resident residing on New Jersey Avenue, disagrees with the decision. He feels that now is not the right time and the city just cannot afford it. Although this criticism was evaluated, the ordinances were still approved by the other members of the city council.
The complete area being purchased spans from 1940 to 1980 Lakewood Road. This includes all properties along Route 9. In order to pay for this, a total of $9.785 million in bonds will be allotted by the city of Toms River, NJ.
The overall goal of the purchase is to not only decrease the volume of houses being built within the township, but also to protect the land in addition to changing the zoning of the parcels to a highway business. We’ve provided plumbing services in Toms River for years, so we want to ensure that we’re able to continue to provide these services to local residents.
Currently, permit fees are as expensive as they have ever been due to the number of homes being built in the area. The Building Department stated recently that the highest permit they have seen so far for a single month totaled almost $500,000. Most of the expensive permits have been for homes being built in the North Dover area.
To address this problem, a proposal to turn the zoning parcels into a highway business was suggested. By doing so, ratables could be generated. However, Council President Brian Kubiel said that because of the constant battle taking place for reasonably priced housing, rezoning this area would be quite complex.
On the other hand, by turning the complete area into commercial properties, it could produce a lot of havoc. Councilman Maurice “Mo” Hill said Route 9 is already extremely busy, but this would simply add to the overall congestion of the area.
Even if the area does get rezoned, Maurice “Mo” went on to say that this would not assure that housing would not be built on the land. A variance could still be requested when developers go before the zoning board.
Council members also listened to the concerns of local residents. Henry Guttman, a resident who owns a huge portion of the land being purchased, said that he is quite frustrated because his land was owned by his parents for 70 years and no one informed him that his land was trying to be purchased.
Guttman, in addition to other local landowners, were notified about the council’s interest in purchasing the land by a simple letter. Guttman said that he would have liked to be notified in a friendlier way instead of a letter.
Paul J. Shives, a local business Administrator, rebutted by saying that by sending the letters out, they were simply following the legal process, and they had plans on meeting with all the property owners.
Officials are currently in the process of acquiring appraisals on all the properties located within the township. Once they have the appraisals, they will discuss them with property owners and offer them a deal. If they refuse to give up their land, then working toward invoking eminent domain will be next step. More information on the open space purchase is available in this article.