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Committee Approves Zoning Change at Proposed Four Ponds Site

Maximum number of units lowered from 342 to 228 after Planning Board denied approval last year

A zoning ordinance approved by Middletown committee members Monday will allow the developer interested in building an apartment complex on the former Avaya site another chance at approval.

Planning Board members voted unanimously in June 2012 to deny a 342 unite apartment complex on the 62-acre site in Lincroft. But an appeal by developer Four Ponds took the case to state Superior Court, and under a recently reached settlement Township Committee members needed to update the property’s zoning.

“Part of that settlement involves changing the zoning of the property so a smaller development can be built,” said Township Administrator Anthony Mercantante at the committee’s regular meeting Monday

Under the revised ordinance, 114 fewer units are allowed on the property, with the total now set at 228, according to Mercantante.

All members voted in favor of the change in zoning, except for Mayor Gerard Scharfenberger who recused himself.

Planning Board members have said they did not believe the site could safely accommodate the originally proposed number of units because the topography would force buildings to be too condensed.

They also worried that roads planned inside the proposed complex were too narrow and could cause trouble for emergency vehicle access.

"Those deficiencies cause safety issues," said Kevin Settembrino, who serves on the Township Committee and Planning Board, during an October meeting of the latter.

Mercantante said Monday that a revised development application must come before the Planning Board for a complete review.

“There will be other planning board meetings on the settled version of the project,” he said. “Assuming there is no appeal, the applicant would change their application to the planning board for a smaller project.”

The project was first brought before the Planning Board on May 4, 2011, but was quickly met with disapproval from locals who said the complex would create problems both for surrounding residents and those in the development itself.

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