Category Archives: Avaya

Middletown Planning Board And AVAYA, What’s Going On?

On the agenda for tonight’s Middletown Planning Board meeting will be the ongoing discussion, with the possible approval, of the Four Pond redevelopment plan for the Avaya complex. Looking at the agenda, it would seem that the only business to be discussed tonight will be the Four Ponds application, all other planning board business has been pushed back to the new year.
Back in October during his reelection campaign, Tony Fiore was telling every Lincroft area resident which he met, that there was a commercial entity interested in occupying the former Avaya industrial site. He also told them not to worry because the township’s planning board would not approve of the proposed Four Ponds housing redevelopment plan that would be comprised of 342 units with various road and infrastructure upgrades for area. He said that the township favored the commercial alternative for the redevelopment of the site over the housing and that the town would do what it could to ensure that the housing project would not be built.
Now that the election is over and Fiore’s seat on the Township Committee has been secured for another 3 years, it seems that the plan has once again changed.
The commercial entity believed to have been interested in the Avaya site was Commvault, a spin off of Lucent Technologies that specializes in data management and recovery. Their current corporate headquarters is located nearby in Oceanport NJ. Commvault it seems, is no longer interested in moving it’s headquarters to Lincroft and prefers instead to move it’s offices over to the now empty, Fort Monmouth in Eatontown.
Why would they choose Eatontown over Lincroft? More than likely it was some sort of tax abatement issue. I had heard previously, before the name of Commvault was known, that the interested commercial entity was looking for a large multi-million dollar, multi-year property tax break in order to move into Middletown. Supposedly the Township reached out to State Senator Joe Kyrillos for help in securing such a deal with the State, but Kyrillos had reservations and nothing was done. This in turn left the door open for Commvault, who more than likely got the deal they were looking from the Fort Monmouth Economic Revitalization Authority to moving itself over to the now empty Fort Monmouth.
So where does that leave the Four Ponds development? Rumors are circulating that Four Ponds developers have decided to back out of the housing project altogether and will announce their decision to do so tonight at the Planning Board meeting, leaving no one at present to build the 342 unit housing development, if the Planning Board’s decision was to approve Four Ponds’ application.
Four Pond’s rumored decision to drop its application could put the town in a major bind. The Avaya project is part of the Township’s COAH plan. If Four Ponds or some other builder, doesn’t build some kind of affordable housing there, the town will not be compliant with it’s State COAH plan and will have to find another location to build the affordable units. This would then open the door to builders that could seek “builder remedy” law suits against Middletown that would allow them to build just about anything, anywhere in town.
And for those that say that couldn’t happen because Governor Christie abolished COAH earlier this year, you are wrong. Christie abolished the governing body that presided over COAH not the rulings or decisions that had been already established by it. Middletown is just as bound today to their plans for building affordable housing as they were a year ago, nothing has changed.
Tonight’s meeting should be interesting.
So what’s the next step here? As one person so apply stated “Middletown should keep that COAH attorney on retainer.”

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Filed under Avaya, COAH, Commvault, Fort Monmouth, Fort Monmouth Economic Revitalization Authority, Four Ponds Housing Development, Gov. Chris Christie, Joe Kyrillos, Middletown Planning Board

Letter: Derailed Fiscal Policy, Empty Promises, Unfulfilled Expectations in Middletown

The following letter also appears online today over at the Atlantic Highlands Herald. This letter, written by Middletown Democratic candidate for Township Committee, Jim Grenafege, is an expanded version of the letter that I posted earlier today and appears online over at the Asbury Park Press.

This version of Mr. Grenafege’s letter is much more hard hitting than what appears on the APP. Compare the two and let me know what you think, this newer version is much more hard hitting and has more specifics.

In his October 18, Atlantic Highlands Herald letter, “Real Solutions to Real Problems Needed to Put Middletown on Right Track”, Mayor Fiore admitted that Middletown government is derailed. I could not agree more.

True to form, he falsely blames years of excessive spending; unnecessary bonding; escalating taxation and debt, all cradled in Republican mismanagement, on the Middletown Democrats who somehow magically made elected Republicans spend our tax dollars. This is just more empty rhetoric to go with decades of empty promises, failure to openly communicate and thwarted taxpayer dreams: no flood control along the Bay Shore; no turf fields; a lake yet to be dredged; a $400 thousand master recreation plan gathering dust; high density housing zoned in Lincroft and planned development of open space at Bamm Hollow.

After Mr. Fiore strong-armed $500 thousand from library funds; took $350 thousand, for the second year in a row, from sewerage authority fees; used $1.3 million in public education funds; his so-called fiscal discipline required a 12% tax increase to cover $45 million of a $62 million budget. This lack of incumbent Republican fiscal discipline has Middletown looking at a projected $2 million shortfall for the 2012 Middletown budget.

Ask Mayor Fiore if he has a real solution. Past Republican practice points at raising taxes. During his term, he has contributed 22% to a 40% increase in taxes over the last five years. Past practice also points at adding to our $70 million in debt, which has increased 66% over the same five years.

Finally, at least $2.4 million of $4 million in “cuts” claimed by Mayor Fiore was onetime nonrecurring expenses that were never part of the 2011 budget.

In closing, Mr. Fiore notes that Middletown has been repeatedly named one of the Top 100 Places to Live by Money Magazine; but, Fiore fails to note that Middletown’s standing in the Magazine’s quality-of-life survey has eroded by 39% during the last four years.

Put a stop to over 30 years of poor fiscal policy and borrowing, empty promises and unfulfilled expectations. Please help our community get back on track: vote Grenafege and Fowler on November 8.

James Grenafege
Middletown Township Committee

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Filed under Asbury Park Press, Atlantic Highlands Herald, Avaya, Debt, Democratic Candidate, Jim Grenafege, letter to the editor, Middletown Township Committee, mismanagement, Tony Fiore

Monmouth Girls Academy Launching Feasibility Study September

I’m posting this press release from the Monmouth Girls Academy because this all girl academy was rumored to be interested in obtaining the Avaya site in Lincroft and using it as their campus.

This rumor had been floated by members of the Middletown governing body when questions started being asked by members of the Lincroft Village Greens Association(LVGA) and SONIC about the Four Ponds Redevelopment housing project set to be built at the Avaya site. The intention of the rumor was to deflect criticism away from the rezoning of the property from industrial usage to high density residential.

I have been told that mayor Tony Fiore, has recently been making the rounds telling residents in the Lincroft area that the Four Ponds development won’t be built and that there is a potential commercial buyer in the background that would save the area from this housing project. I think however Fiore’s assurances are nothing more than political electioneering on his park to sure up the voter base in Lincroft.

Of course however, if you are interested in finding out more about the Monmouth Girls Academy and participating in it’s feasibility study, by all means go to their website and do so. I think the Academy is a worthy institution to support.

Local Families and Interested Individuals Invited to Participate in Feasibility Study – available at http://www.monmouthgirlsacademy.org

Rumson, NJ – (September 2011) – What do these prominent women have in common: Condoleeza Rice, Hillary Clinton, Madeleine Albright, Margaret Thatcher, Golda Meir and Carley Fiorina? Each attended an all-girls school. A number of national studies indicate a pattern of strong, successful careers for girls who attend single-sex schools, which has lead a group of local parents and educators to investigate the feasibility of opening an all-girls high school in Monmouth County.

The steering committee has engaged Wisconsin-based Meitler Consultants, a firm that specializes in school strategic planning, to study and analyze the feasibility of opening a centrally located all-girls Catholic college preparatory high school in Monmouth County, tentatively called The Monmouth Girls Academy (http://www.monmouthgirlsacademy.org).

The feasibility study will be conducted online from September 12 to 28, 2011. Families interested in participating in the study should visit: http://www.monmouthgirlsacademy.org

“The purpose of the study is to evaluate the feasibility of establishing an all-girls high school in Monmouth County and the potential impact on existing schools in the area as well as to establish open communication with all interested residents, educators and community leaders”, notes Victoria Gmelich, High School Study Steering Committee Co-Chair. “We encourage the community to participate in the study to help guide the decision-making process.”

Mairead Clifford, who also co-chairs the High School Study Steering Committee, says “from the beginning of the process, our group has sought to keep an open line of communication with the Diocese of Trenton as well as members of local Catholic, private and public school communities.”

What Does the Feasibility Study Ask?

The Monmouth Girls Academy Feasibility Study conducted by Meitler Consultants will include such questions as:

– number of girls in the family

– high school enrollment intentions

– factors/hurdles in selecting a high school

– factors/hurdles in selecting a parochial/Catholic school

– parental participation/support of an all-girls school

– open-ended questions such as why the study participant would enroll their daughter in an all-girls Catholic high school

– demographic information

Mission and Vision of the Monmouth Girls Academy

The Monmouth Girls Academy mission:

Objective is to establish a private, Catholic all-girls college preparatory high school in Monmouth County.
Academics will reflect our goal to inspire a lifelong thirst for knowledge through a rigorous, comprehensive and challenging approach to learning uniquely tailored to nurture the intellectual, spiritual, social and physical gifts of each individual.
A rigorous program which is developmentally appropriate for young women to achieve and reach their fullest potential.
To welcome students and families of different faiths and diverse backgrounds and value the uniqueness of each individual.

This all-girls high school, with an anticipated initial enrollment of 500-600 students, will serve a need currently unmet by existing parochial, private and public high schools in Monmouth County. The school would be accredited by the Middle States Association of Schools and Colleges, offer academics that exceed state standards, and welcome students of all faiths. The anticipated annual tuition is $13,000, with the support of financial aid for families with demonstrated need along with some academic scholarships. The site for the school will be centrally located in Monmouth County but will be based the feasibility study results.

Statistics about All Girls Schools

– Girls who attend single-sex schools outscore their co-ed counterparts on the SAT by an average of 28 to 43 points

– Three times as many alumnae of single-sex schools plan to become engineers

– Girls’ school students spend more hours per week doing homework, attending study groups, tutoring others and working with their teachers than co-ed students

– Nearly 100% of girls’ school grads go on to college.

To learn more about the Monmouth Girls Academy and to register for the study, please go to: http://www.monmouthgirlsacademy.org.

Like and share us on Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/pages/Monmouth-Girls-Academy/232994200076529?sk=wall&filter=2

Christine Burke or Judy Musa, Full Circle Communications
Judy@fullcirclecommunications.net or 732-688-8079, 732-687-1556

Communications, Public Relations and Event Planning
Full Circle Communications

Phone: 732.688.8079
Fax: 732-747-5292

cburkeassociates@verizon.net
16 William Street
Red Bank NJ 07701

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Filed under Avaya, Feasibility study, Four Ponds Housing Development, Lincroft NJ, LVGA, Middletown NJ, Monmouth Girls Academy, Sonic

Before Moving Forward With Avaya Redevelopment, New Traffic Study Needed

Once again on tonight’s agenda for the Middletown Planning Board is a continuation of the public hearing concerning the controversial Four Ponds (Avaya) Redevelopment plan. Tonight’s meeting will be the 5th such hearing on the redevelopment plan that, if allowed to move forward, will approve the building of 342 high density housing units (270 townhouses and 72 apartments) in Lincroft.

Since the first Planning Board hearing on this issue took place back on May 4th , these meeting have been extremely well attended and have filled the Middletown Court Room (where the meetings are held) with area residents expressing their disapproval of this planned high density, residential redevelopment of the former Avaya industrial site. The main concern of these residents isn’t so much about the number of homes being built as it is about the traffic and safety concerns that need to be properly addressed on the local roads as a result of these homes being built.

The roads over in the Lincroft area are already congested and often impassable during the rush hour or when Brookdale Community College is in session; the intersection that comprises Newman Springs Rd/520, Middletown Lincroft Rd and Swimming River Rd is a nightmare and getting into and out of the shopping centers that surround this intersection is nearly impossible at times. West Front St won’t be easy to navigate around either once residential cars from the redevelopment start to pour out of the back entrance of the site and onto the road.

Safety concerns for area residents are valid especially when you factor in “cut-through” streets like Turnberry, Whispering Pines, Jumping Brook, Hillside; cars looking to avoid the congestion of the main roads will no doubt filter through the side streets looking for short-cuts around the traffic. Pedestrians and other vehicles parked on these residential streets will be placed at a higher risk for harm which does not exist now.

That’s why when at the last Planning Board meeting held on August 3rd, Traffic Engineer John Rea presented to the board the results of a traffic study that was completed during March last year, residents were right to question its’ validity.

According to the Brookdale College 2010 academic calendar spring break was held during this time and campus activities were limited, so a representative study wasn’t possible. Rea went on to state that there was a follow up traffic study completed during the week of May 16th 2011 to show that traffic didn’t change much.

Coincidentally however, the Brookdale Community College spring semester ended the week before and Christian Bother’s Academy had a shortened academic week and held graduation during this time period. So again, the validity of this follow up traffic study was in question.

Based on this information, I would think that another, more representative study should be completed by a third party before further discussions on the redevelopment of the Avaya site proceeds.

A new study needs to be completed that includes the areas from the intersections of 520/Half Mile Rd, 520/Middletown Lincroft Rd and future developments west of Garden State Parkway. Surrounding areas and planned developments (Bamm Hollow) need to be included and thought out to show the real impact on the community. The study should be done at the peak of traffic season, possible during the 2nd week of October, when the fall session is in full swing at Brookdale for example, to ensure that a true representative sample of traffic conditions are taken. In addition another study should be done during a weekend when residents are home and out shopping to show what the difference in traffic conditions would be. These studies should be done to provide data for a worse-case scenario and provide plans to mitigate traffic increases during peak times.

Before moving forward with this redevelopment of the Avaya site, the Planning Board needs to make sure that a true, accurate and representative traffic study is performed that will take into consideration the concerns of Lincroft and other area residents. This new study should be done by a firm mutually agreed to by Four Ponds Developers, Middletown and the residents that are fighting the planned redevelopment of Avaya, with the costs of the new traffic study being split between the three.

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Filed under Avaya, Bamm Hollow Country Club, Four Ponds Housing Development, Lincroft, Middletown Planning Board, Redevelopment, traffic study

Subject of Latest Robo-Call From Concerned Citizens Deals With AVAYA and COAH

Earlier today I received yet another robo-call from the group calling themselves Concerned Citizens of Middletown.

The content of this robo- call that was left on my answering machine ~1:30 pm, seems to be geared towards what is going on in Lincroft concerning the redevelopment of the AVAYA sight that will consist of 342 units of high density housing if built.

The timing of this latest robo-call seems to have been planned to correspond with the next Middletown Planning Board meeting scheduled for tomorrow night, where according to the agenda for the meeting, approval of the project may be finalized.

I’m sure that this call (the 5th) will be just as controversial as the others that have gone out in the past by the group Concerned Citizens of Middletown.
Tony Fiore and others associated with the Middletown GOP swear that Concerned Citizens of Middletown is nothing more than the a front name used by the Middletown Democrats to stir up trouble and controversy, which as far as I know, is not the case.
I am sure that one day soon the mystery of who is behind the group will be answered, but until then I’m going to sit back and enjoy the speculation. It’s fun to see Fiore and the others squirm a bit and point fingers while trying to explain that the messages being left on answering machines all around town have no merit and shouldn’t be paid attention to.

Below is the message that I recorded again off of my answering machine followed by a transcript of the call:

http://www.archive.org/flow/flowplayer.commercial-3.2.1.swf

Have you heard? Because The Middletown Township Committee failed to fulfill it’s COAH obligations, the Township had to solicit bids to develop housing projects throughout Middletown?

As a result the AVAYA site in Lincroft will become a multi-family housing project that will impact the residents of Lincroft and the Township.

The influx of new residents will have an adverse affect; roads will need to be widened, sewer and water lines will need to be installed and over crowding of local schools will take place, all at a cost to our quality of life.

Paid for by
Concerned Citizens of Middletown.

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Filed under Avaya, COAH, Concerned Citizens of Middletown, Four Ponds Housing Development, Lincroft NJ, Middletown GOP, Middletown Planning Board, Middletown Township Committee, Robo-calls, Tony Fiore

>It’s Catch-Up Time

>If you’ve notice over the past two weeks the postings on the blog here have been a little thin. I’ve had a temporary change to my work schedule for the month that hasn’t allowed me to focus on thing the way that I would’ve liked to. This coming week my schedule is back to “normal” before being disrupted again for another two weeks, so it’s time to play caught-up.

Along with some local items of interest such as a discrimination charges filed against Middletown’s Chief of Police by a Middletown Police officer, news on the AVAYA and Bamm Hollow redevelopments and some funding being secured for dredging Shadow Lake. A number of readers have also sent me items of interest that others may be interested in knowing.

So over the course of the weekend I hope to get back up to speed on number of items so stay tuned.

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Filed under Avaya, Bamm Hollow Country Club, blogging, catch-up, ethic charges, items of interest, law suit, Middletown Mike, Middletown Police, Shadow Lake

>Possible suitor for Avaya? Monmouth Girls Academy Said To Be Interested

>

There has been talk recently that there maybe a commercial buyer interested in purchasing the controversial AVAYA site and redeveloping the property into something other than a high density housing project which would consist of 342 units.
In order to deflect residents anger away from the proposed housing project at AVAYA, members of the Township Committee have been floating rumors and innuendo to Lincroft citizens groups like SONIC and the Lincroft Village Green Association about a potential commercial buyer of the property, but they have been mum on details and wont elaborate.
Earlier today I was forwarded an email that I thought would be of interest to some in Lincroft. The email (posted below minus contact information, I can forward if interested) details a plan that would have the Monmouth Girls Academy purchasing the property and turning it into an all girls school similar to that of Christian Brothers Academy, which is also located in Lincroft:

Hi all,


You may have heard the facts by now but here is a summary for the proposed school:

  • Yes – they ARE serious about this!! The feasibility study is being funded by local parents who seem quite determined to make this happen.
  • The school would be accredited by the Middle States Association and Colleges.
  • The school will be somewhere in Lincroft – they have already checked out the Avaya property.
  • Tuition would be comparable to CBA – currently $13,000. Academics and curriculum would be comparable to CBA.
  • Like CBA – the school would NOT be a part of the Diocese of Trenton.
  • Target enrollment would be 500-600 girls.
  • Target freshman class – Sept 2013 a bit aggressive but they are hopeful:)!
  • They currently have a Steering Committee in place with various local Educators and professionals.
  • They also have a Founders Committee in place to raise funds if the study has a positive outcome.
  • Meitler Consultants hopes to complete the study by October 2011.
  • This is the first Phase in the process.

How can you help? Go to the website www.monmouthgirlsacademy.org and register so they can get an idea of just how many parents are truly interested in the school.

Also – please forward to anyone you think would be interested. I did not use any group e-mail lists so as to not abuse the system.



On the surface, I don’t think this is a viable plan. There is just too much involved to make this happen and at a cost that would easily exceed millions of dollars. First off the building is very large and sits on partial wetlands building an active campus for students would seem almost impossible at that site. But stranger things have happened.
We’ll just have to see how it plays out.

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Filed under all girls school, Avaya, Christian Brothers Academy, Lincroft, lincroft village green association, LVGA, Middletown, Monmouth Girls Academy, Sonic

>Interesting Timing Behind Bamm Hollow Resolution

>With all the hoopla surrounding the redevelopment of the Avaya industrial site in Lincroft which is calling for 342 housing units to be built, I find a resolution on the docket for approval at tonight’s Township Committee meeting in Middletown interesting in it’s timing.

Resolution No. 11-169 , which authorizes the settlement agreement between Bamm Hollow builders and the Township, seems to be an attempt by the Township to sugarcoat the history behind the redevelopment of the Bamm Hollow Country Club property, in a way that show outspoken community groups like SONIC and the Lincroft Village Green Association that the Township Committee is really looking out for their best interests and are not really interested in building high density housing in Lincroft.
Unfortunately though we know differently.

Bamm Hollow developers originally wanted to build 200-300 homes on the site when plans were first proposed with no COAH units, I was told. The Township objected to the initial development due to the it’s size and wanted the developers to scale it back a bit.

After further discussions took place, the Township approached the Bamm Hollow developers, along with several other land owners, wanted to know if they would be interested in having their properties included in the Township’s Master Plan for residential development. Many of them (including Bamm Hollow) agreed to join the Township’s planned most of them then had their properties rezoned from commercial properties to residential (Avaya being an example).
From what I had been told, the Bamm Hollow property and the Avaya property where then (on paper) combined to make one large development. It was only after plans were leaked out that the development of the Avaya site would not include Bamm Hollow, that Bamm Hollow decided to revise their plans from 200 or so single units to the 1200 units with COAH housing.
The developers knew at the time that Middletown had failed to meet it’s COAH requirements so they decided to seek a “Builder’s Remedy” in the courts to have the property zoned to the way that they had originally wanted. The 1200 units were a bluff by the builder and would have never been built with COAH in mind because the site did not meet the conditions to satisfy COAH requirements on its own.
So now that the Bamm Hollow case has been settled in courts (pretty much to the way Bamm Hollow had originally wanted in the first place), the Township is attempting to show residents of Lincroft and the rest of the Township, that they are fighting for their best interests (after spending hundred of thousands of dollars) by fighting Bamm Hollow in the court and winning so that now, the “little” (in caparison ) 342 unit redevelopment of the Avaya property doesn’t look so big and bad to those that live in the area.
I’m sure that there will be some discussion about this tonight that will be very interesting and somewhat revealing, it will make for a great show. The meeting starts at 8:00 if you wish to attend.

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Filed under Avaya, Bam Hollow, builder's remedy, COAH, law suit, lincroft village green association, Middletown Township Committee, Redevelopment Lincroft, resolutions and ordinances, Sonic

>It’s Your Town – Newsletter Volume 3, Issue 9- 5/2/11

>The latest edition of It’s Your Town Newsletter is available for reading.

This latest editions of the newsletter covers the May 2, 2011 Middletown Township Committee Workshop meeting. It was at this meeting that the 2011 Township budget was scheduled for public hearing. Unfortunately the meeting was once again sparsely attended and only 1 resident came forward to question it.
In my opinion, this hearing should have been moved to the regular monthly meeting scheduled for the May 16th so that it would have been subjected to a larger audience.
During public comments a few residents questioned the planned redevelopment of the AVAYA industrial site in Lincroft that is currently being heard by the Township’s Planning Board. You can read what our elected officials had to say about it.

There were also many items on the agenda up for discussion, but not many were openly discussed.

Stay on top of what is going on during these Township meetings by reading the newsletter. It is the next best thing to being there yourself since the Township still refuses to video them for presentation over it’s cable access channels (which by the way was a point of discussion during the meeting).
Click >>> Here >>> to download a copy of the latest newsletter .

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Filed under Avaya, Its Your Town, Middletown Planning Board, Middletown Township Committee, Newsletter, workshop meeting

>Middletown Update and Background Proposed Four Ponds Development Plan

>At the behest of the Township Committee, Township Administrator Tony Mercantante, posted the following letter the Middletown Township website late yesterday, the letter is an attempt to give some background information behind the history of the rezoning of the Avaya property in Lincroft that is a hot-button issue in town and ready to explode. At least three separate citizens groups are now involved and on record as being opposed to the project.

What this letter doesn’t tell residents about is how, much like the infamous “Town Center” project, the Township went to Torsevias (the owners of the property) and pitched this idea to them. The township would never have been able to rezone this property if the owners weren’t on board with it. Promises were made and palms were greased in some way to make this happen, now the Township needs to backpedal before it’s too late.

Unfortunately it may be too late for that already, money has been spent already on the project by the owners, they would want so type of reimbursement for there troubles i’m sure, which will tie this project up in the courts for years at a cost of millions of dollars to the tax payers of Middletown if it doesn’t go through.

And as usual, the Township is blaming Democrats in Trenton for inaction on the issue of COAH. They wont dare point a finger at the Governor for vetoing the COAH bill that was past by the assembly last year. If COAH was on the top of the Governor’s priority list, he would be taking the lead on this issue like he has been while bashing teachers and unions.

But don’t confuse the issues of COAH and this project, the opposition to this redevelopment is not COAH based as the Township wants you to believe. The opposition is opposed to the project based on quality of life issues and concerns such as infrastructure, traffic and the effects of having many more students enroll in area schools.

Dear Residents:

The Township Committee has asked that I provide a summary of the circumstances surrounding the proposed Four Ponds Development Plan at the former Avaya property, which is part of the Township’s state-mandated Council On Affordable Housing (“COAH”) housing plan.

The Township Committee has many concerns about this proposed project, which is why the Township is currently litigating the COAH’s revised third round rules before the New Jersey Supreme Court. Not only has the Township joined in the League of Municipality’s lawsuit, but the Township also filed its own lawsuit, which was just recently accepted by the Supreme Court. It is unclear, however, when this case will be heard, which could be anywhere from 6 months to a year, or more, from now. In the meantime, the Township is still subject to COAH’s rules, as they existed three years ago.

It is the Township’s belief that we should not be punished by these rules since, we believe there are plenty of affordable housing units, including rental units available throughout the Township. This fact is largely the basis of our legal position. Further, the Township does not have a history of exclusionary zoning that would be in violation of the original Mount Laurel doctrine. Unfortunately, this legal doctrine has evolved into something it was never intended to be, which essentially hands control of much of our zoning over to developers and in some cases the courts.

Making matters worse, the Appellate Court recently invalidated a large portion of the revised third round COAH rules that gave the Township a variety bonus credits for past performance and for allowing the creation of affordable rental housing. Without these extra credits and other mechanisms thrown out by the Court, the Township’s affordable housing obligation could grow significantly higher than it already is. Fortunately, the Township sought and secured a stay from both COAH and the Supreme Court of the Appellate Court’s ruling on this matter. Now, the Supreme Court will decide the ultimate merits of this issue, but the outcome is far from certain, which is why the Township has actively been seeking legislative action that has not been forthcoming. The legislation that has been proposed so far, in most cases would be a giant step backwards, making matters far worse. Fortunately the Governor vetoed the bill that was actually passed by the legislature since it would have increased the Township’s affordable housing obligation possibly two-fold.

As a result, the Township has been forced to zone a number of properties in a way that it would not have otherwise, only to satisfy COAH’s requirements. It is also critical in order to stem what are known as Builder’s Remedy lawsuits, which essentially strip away any local control and allows the courts to order the approval of housing developments. In fact, the Township is currently subject to a challenge by the owners of the Bamm Hollow Country Club. Specifically, since challenging our plans, they have been seeking to construct 1,200 multi-family dwellings that would include at least 240 COAH units upon their 277-acre property. They also have an application pending for 50 homes which the property is currently zoned for, which is also not actively being pursued. That application will not make this litigation go away as they are continuing to seek a development many times that size. We are currently seeking a stay before the Appellate Court in this matter in an effort to try to resolve it through sound planning without facing the prospect of 1,200 more units of housing in Lincroft. The reality of the situation is that if the Avaya property had not been zoned to allow for the development of residential housing two years ago, Bamm Hollow would likely be building 1,200 court-ordered units on its property by now.

These are the unfortunate realities currently faced by the Township until the Legislature or the Courts act appropriately to eliminate these irrational mandates that do nothing but promote poor planning and development while wasting hundreds of thousands of taxpayer dollars. I would note, however, that the Avaya property is still also zoned to allow for commercial development, so the Township is not impeding that from taking place should market conditions allow for it. Further, the Township has been encouraging businesses to move into the site along with seeking economic development assistance for prospective tenants from the state.

Simply put, due to legislative inaction, the Township was left with no option but to include Avaya property as part of its housing plan three years ago to allow for residential development. The reality is that the alternative would be far worse for Lincroft and the Township as a whole. We would like to encourage all residents, as many of you have in the past, to write and call Senate President Steve Sweeney and Assembly Speaker Sheila Oliver who should be held accountable along with the entire State Legislature for failing to act on the Governor’s proposed COAH reforms. With those reforms, there is at least a chance that this project may not have advanced to this point.

Sincerely,
Anthony P. Mercantante, P.P. AICP
Township Administrator

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Filed under Avaya, Bam Hollow, COAH, Gov. Chris Christie, Lincroft NJ, lincroft village green association, LVGA, Middletown Township Committee, Sonic, Tony Mercantante, Torsevia, Towns Center, Trenton