Category Archives: Sonic

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

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

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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

>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

>Raw Video: Middletown Planning Board Discusses Avaya Re-Development

>For those that were unable to attend the Middletown Planning Board meeting last night don’t fret, I took a few picture and shot an hour’s worth of video from the proceeding.

The meeting started at 6:30 pm but because of old business before the planning board, the discussions concerning the Avaya redevelopment project didn’t start until 7:25 pm and lasted only an hour. It was explained that further meetings would be needed in front of the planning board over the course of the next few months before any decisions concerning the site would be made.
I would say that there were easily 250 or more Lincroft area residents in attendance for this initial site presentation. Unfortunately none were afforded an opportunity to speak their minds about it because no public comments on the project were allowed at this time. It was stated that after all testimony before the planning board was given, lawyers for various community groups would be given a chance to cross examine the witnesses and residents would have a chance to speak.
Below is raw video from the night’s meeting, it lasts an hour and captured all but the first minute of the meeting (I wasn’t fast enough turning on the camera, sorry)

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Filed under 342 units, Avaya, COAH, Lincroft NJ, lincroft village green association, Middletown NJ, Middletown Planning Board, Monmouth County, Raw Video, Sonic

>Avaya Re-Development On Tonight’s Planning Board Agenda In Middletown

>Tonight’s 6:30 pm meeting of the Middletown Planning Board should be interesting, at tonight’s meeting plans for the controversial Avaya redevelopment project will be discussed.

This project calls for 342 housing units to be built off Middletown-Lincroft Rd. in Lincroft and has caused a major backlash of opposition against the project by area residents. The Lincroft Village Green Association and the citizens group SONIC ( Save Our Neighborhood’s Integrity & Character), have each rallied their members and plan to have large contingencies there.
Redbankgreen.com‘s Dustin Racioppi has a good write-up on it:

Middletown’s planning board will meet Wednesday to hear a proposal that’s got neighbors up in arms and township officials grinding their teeth.

The proposed project, submitted by Four Ponds Associates, calls for the demolition of a large office building vacated by telecom giant Avaya and the construction of 342 residential units on 68 acres on Middletown-Lincroft Road.

For locals, the prospect of adding hundreds of homes to the tract is an unwelcome one, as traffic and safety top the concerns, not to mention a serious disruption to the Lincroft section’s quality of life, they say.

For township officials, the proposal represents “archaic and ridiculous” affordable housing laws imposed by the state. But until changes are made in Trenton, they’re handcuffed, they say.

“We oppose this development and every development we’ve been forced into under the guise of affordable housing regulations,” Mayor Tony Fiore said, “especially when they’re not in the best interest of Middletown. And that’s exactly what’s going on here.”

Currently, the property is zoned for office use but is able to add residential units since the town listed the property in its affordable housing plan, which was revised in 2009, Administrator Anthony Mercantante said. No variances are being sought.

A non-profit advocacy group made up of residents, the Lincroft Village Green Association, has called for the town to rezone the property back to residential single-family or commercial use.

But “We have no authority to simply rezone” the property, Fiore said. “We would be steadfast in doing that. Unfortunately, the legislature and the state assembly has given us no relief.”

Of the 342 units proposed, 68 are said in the builder’s application to satisfy the town’s affordable housing obligation, a murky mandate delivered by the state Council On Affordable Housing – which itself is in limbo, as Governor Chris Christie has recommended eliminating COAH and letting local municipalities decide how much affordable housing is necessary within their boundaries….

Finish reading >>> Here


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Filed under Avaya, COAH, Dustin Racioppi, Lincroft NJ, lincroft village green association, Middletown Planning Board, RedBankGreen.com, Sonic

>SONIC Issues Statement Apposing Avaya Re-development

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The following was issued via email from the Lincroft citizens group ” Save Our Neighborhood’s Integrity & Character” aka SONIC
Thursday evening April 28th, over 100 concerned Lincroft residents packed the Sunrise Assisted Living Facility to discuss the proposed plans for the Re-development of the site formerly occupied by AVAYA. They are vehemently opposed to the proposed plan, which calls for 342 units in total, which represents a 16 % increase in the total number of homes in Lincroft.

The group was comprised of members of “Save Our Neighborhood’s Integrity & Character”, otherwise known as SONIC, who originally were organized to oppose the WFS Sports Complex, as well as members of the Lincroft Village Green Association (LVGA) and other concerned residents. They agreed to use all their available resources to actively oppose these proposed plans. The group has and will be soliciting funds from the Community, to retain an attorney and other professionals, as deemed necessary, in mounting opposition to this proposed plan.

SONIC will be informing the greater Lincroft Community about this proposed plan and will urge all concerned residents from the Lincroft area and surrounding Communities to attend the upcoming Middletown Township Planning Board meeting on Wed. May 4th, at 6:30 pm at Town Hall.

For further information as to this proposed plan, please visit the following WebSite: LincroftVillageGreen.org


To see site plan of the proposed Avaya re-development click Here

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Filed under Avaya, Four Ponds Housing Development, lincroft village green association, LVGA, Middletown Planning Board, Sonic, Town Hall

What Is Happening With The Bond For The Middletown Turf Fields?

On tonight’s agenda for the Middeltown Township Committee Workshop meeting there will be a discussion about capital improvement projects and existing bonds and what to do about them. It will be interesting to see what they decide to do with the bonds the town is sitting on, namely the bond that was issued to fund the artificial turf projects for Croydon Hall and Trezza Field.

If we can all remember back to this past January when residents of Lincroft teamed up with members of the Pop Warner Chargers football organization when they found out that the long promised field restoration for Trezza Field (the home of the Chargers) was not going to happen, instead the funds for the turf project at Trezza Field was going to be diverted to West Front Street Park,caused so much trouble for Gerry Scharfenberger and Pam Brightbill earlier this year that they decided to cancel the turf projects all together in April.

The sudden decision to cancel the turf projects left everyone stunned at the time and questioning what was going to happen with the $2.6 million bond that was issued to fund the projects. The bond’s language as written was very specific, the funds couldn’t be used for anything else other than field restoration.

The following audio clip contains comments made by Middletown Attorney Brian Nelson, Middletown Township Town Administrator Tony Mercantante and mayor Gerry Scharfenberger during Workshop meetings on February 1st and March 1st,and seems to confirm that. The audio documents what the three men had been saying about the bonded money that was to be used for the construction of turf fields prior to the sudden announcement that the field project was going to be cancelled and the bonded funds returned.

Fast forward now to the last Township Committee meeting held on July 19th.

Lincroft resident and founding member of the citizens group SONIC (which opposed the turf project at West Front Street Park), Mary Mahoney, addressed the Township Committee about the unused Turf Bond that was to be used for artificial turf fields at Trezza Field, West Front Street Park and Croydon Hall. She wanted to know what was happening with the bonded money,

was there any plans to use it for anything else, how much of it had been spent and why wasn’t it retired as of yet to save the township interest payments on it.

She seemed to have taken the the Township Committee and those that make the decisions on such things by surprise. Listen to it below:

About 1:10 into her comments CFO Nick Trasente is heard saying that the bond funds could be used for other facilities, used to pay down debt or retired, which is contrary to earlier remarks made by Township Attorney Brian Nelson and Scharfenberger, who had stated at earlier meetings and can be heard above in the 1st audio clip, that the bond had to be retired if not used for turf fields and couldn’t be used for anything else.

So, what are Gerry and the boys planning on doing with the funds from this bond? It seems that they are trying to figure out a way to apply it to the budget in order to decrease 14% tax rate increase in this years municipal budget that has not been adopted yet.

If this is a concern to anyone then you should attend tonights meeting at Town Hall, it starts at 8pm. Get there early for a good seat.

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Filed under artificial turf fields, Chargers, Gerry Scharfenberger, Lincroft, Mary Mahoney, Nick Trasente, Pop Warner, Sonic, Tony Mercantante, Trezza Field, Turf project, West Front Street

In Light Of The Mayor’s Decision to Cancel The Lincroft Sports Complex Lets Revist SONIC’s Letter

Now that the Mayor has declared the West Front Street and Croydon Hall sports complexes null and void due to the alleged economic condition, I thought it might be relevant to re post the letter that SONIC wrote to him and the Township Committee back in early February.

After sending Gerry Scharfenberger their letter, SONIC later went on to meet with the Mayor on Saturday February 12th to discuss the issues that were outlined in the letter during his weekly office hours.

The reasons SONIC opposed this development were reasonably stated with valid concerns.

What stands out most to me are the 2 paragraphs highlighted regarding SONIC’S questioning the timing of this expenditure during these current bad economic times. As well as their suggested solutions which the Mayor had promised to follow through with but never did.

It finally took the Governor’s convenient cut in aid (even though for many months the Mayor and others insisted that the cost of the new fields would not effect the current budget process), to get the Mayor to recognize what SONIC had been saying all along.

Expansion of Useage of the Field at West Front Street in Lincroft
February 11, 2010

Dear Mayor Scharfenberger,

I am writing this letter on behalf of a recently formed group of residents from the Lincroft Community who choose to be known as “Save Our Neighborhood’s Integrity & Character” or “SONIC” for short. This group is principally comprised of residents in and around the West Front Street soccer fields, however we are receiving support from residents and various groups in Middletown and Holmdel as a result of your announced expansion plans. It is our sincere pledge to work with you and the entire Middletown Township Committee with regard to the stated Mission of the Township, which as per Township’s own letterhead is to “Save a Life, Save a Neighborhood, Save Taxes.”

SONIC has no objection to improving these grass fields making them safer for soccer and other sports but we do not support the amenities to the sports complex. We strongly object to the plans for 70 foot tall lights, an expanded parking lot, chain link fence, public address system, snack bar and storage facilities. This represents an entirely different type and concentration of activity; permanently changing the character and integrity of the neighborhood. These changes or what was characterized as improvements are the main reasons why we feel so betrayed by you, our elected officials, in not fully disclosing your intent and the extent of this development.

The following is a list of the key elements that SONIC believes make the West Front Street site not suitable or appropriate for the intended expansion:

A Serious Traffic Hazard:
The intersection of West Front Street and Crawfords Corner/Everett Road, a county road, already is a heavily utilized traffic area. It serves as a main route into Red Bank, to various elementary and pre-schools, Brookdale Community College, CBA, as well as a route from Holmdel and elsewhere into the Town itself. Increased activity, such as Pop Warner football , will serve to increase traffic in an unbearable way, leading to a major safety hazard for those who reside and worship in the area and for the children living in and around West Front Street Park. Even with the expanded parking lot in the proposal, with the inevitable tournaments or back to back games there will be insufficient parking available. Where would the cars go but spill onto West Front St, Everett Road and side streets? Required or not, we request a traffic study be done by the county.

Drainage:
There will be drainage issues that accompany the current plan to install a drainage pipe through the easement between 109 and 111 University Dr. Natural springs and poor drainage already exist in this location.

Lighting and Sound System:
There is little to no natural buffer for the homes on Tuller Ct, Everett Road and University Drive to protect from the tall lights and P/A system. The homeowners on University Drive are very concerned with the removal of trees which may be necessary for installation of an artificial turf football field, sidelines, and additional buildings. This would further reduce an already insufficient buffer and affect our quality of life.

On Table 19 of the Parks and Recreation Master Plan, of the 12 properties considered for a synthetic turf field, West Front Street Park ranked low in topography, available parking, drainage and size. Thompson Middle School and Nut Swamp School ranked considerably better in all criteria. West Front Streets overall ranking was the lowest of all available fields in the area with the exception of Nut Swamp Park.

In addition to the above issues as to why this site is inappropriate, we question the timing of this expenditure. With a projected budget deficit of $5.0MM for our Township this year, when residents are losing their jobs and others are struggling to get by on reduced incomes and reeling from increased property taxes, building a “multi-sport” complex appears extravagant. Not having a CFO and a Finance Committee in place to review all the options is, in our view causing unwise financial decisions to be made. Awarding a nearly $200,000 contract to CMX engineering before plans were appropriately vetted with those directly affected seems equally irresponsible.

Common sense and public duty requires you to act responsibly by pursuing solutions that leverage existing assets for the betterment of the entire community. One solution would be to apply a portion of the $2.5MM in funds the Township received from the bonds issued in 2006 for capital expenditures for Parks and Recreation in order to reduce the deficit and reserve a portion to improve the parking and grass condition of the existing Trezza Field. We already have two artificial turf fields in town and these are not just expensive to build but also costly to maintain. Would it not be better to resume discussion with the Board of Education to seek a Shared Use Agreement for the use of these fields? In reviewing the public correspondence between the BOE and MTC from June through September regarding the Proposed Shared Services/Land Use Agreement, we believe the BOE did their part to work this out. To claim that the BOE “lawyered up” as the reason for the failed negotiations is just not acceptable. Moreover, the President of the BOE has personally agreed to readdress this issue and the members of SONIC urge you to do so.

Accordingly, SONIC respectfully requests that prior to the February 16th Middletown Township Committee meeting a few of our members meet with you in your office to have an open and honest exchange of ideas, preferably this coming Saturday, since you will be available as a result of last week’s snowstorm. It is our hope and desire to resolve this issue for the benefit of the community as a whole and restore our trust in our elected officials.

Cordially,

On behalf of the below representatives of SONIC, et al

Sarah Hammond, Mary Mahoney, Jeffrey Blumengold, Stanley Gelfman, Trish Thomson, Jodi Molasani, Marianne Musella, and Peter Simpson


It’s too bad that in the end arrogance and bad planning on the part of Mayor Scharfenberger and others is what really doomed the sports complexes. If the Mayor and others would have stuck to the orginal plan to improve Trezza Field, the home of the Pop Warner Chargers, instead of insisting that the Chargers except West Front Street Park as their new home, both Trezza Field and Croydon Hall would be having new turf fields installed as we speak and opposition to the turf projects would have been muted.
Instead the Mayor, like a 3rd grader took his fields and went home, blaming the Governor along the way instead of looking into the mirror that would have shown the egg on his face.

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Filed under artificial turf fields, Lincroft, Mayor Scharfenberger, Middletown Board of Education, Sonic, sports complex, West Front Street

Lincroft Sports Complex Is Dead; Plans For Artificial Turf Fields For Croydon Hall and Lincroft Are Dropped.

At last night’s Middletown Neighborhood Meeting at the Middletown Senior Center at Croydon Hall a very interesting turn of events was announced by Gerry Scharfenberger, the plans for the installation of artificial turf fields in Lincroft and at Croydon Hall are being dropped.

There will be no sports complex built or field upgrades at West Front Street Park that met so much opposition from the residents group SONIC (Save Our Neighborhood’s Integrity and Character) and the Pop Warner Lincroft Chargers organization, and no upgrade for the field at Croydon Hall which is used by the Middletown Eagles Pop Warner team.

According to the Asbury Park Press article posted online late last night, Scharfenberger use the current economic conditions affecting the Township as the reason for why the turf field projects were being dropped. Scharfenberger is quoted as saying:

“…In a difficult budget year in which the township’s state aid has been cut by $1.3 million, 14 retiring employees will receive hundreds of thousands of dollars in parting costs, and snow removal expenses were at least $500,000 above normal, it makes no sense to also take on a fields project…I see no way to go forward with this… In terms of what had to go, this became something of a no-brainer.”

The article went on to state that Township Administrator Tony Mercantante said the $2.4 million bond that was originally issued for the project in 2006 will be returned to the lender.

So why the sudden change, why did the Scharfenberger and Mercantante drop the plans for the turf installations? You can’t tell me it was because of the sudden realization that the Township is facing a budget deficit of over $5 million and this was a prudent decision on the part of the Township Committee. The Township has known for weeks that it would not be receiving the same level of state aid as in years past and Scharfenberger, Mercantante and crew said that the $2.4 million that was bonded for the turf projects was already in the bank, waiting to be used and would have absolutely no effect on the current budget process.

I feel that the real reason why they decided to cancel plans for the turf fields was the embarrassment that they felt when confronted at last week’s March 15th Township Committee meeting by members of the Chargers organization and SONIC when they present a plan to the Township that clearly showed that a multi-sport field could indeed be placed at Trezza Field, the home of the Chargers for over 40 years as originally called for in bond ordinance, with no impact to wetlands that the Township based its decision on as a reason for not going ahead with the field upgrade.

If Tony Mercantante accepted the Chargers’ plan, he would have had to admit that the advice from the town’s engineers and other professionals was wrong. He would have had to essentially throw them under the bus, which would have lead to questions of competence and may have raised doubts about other projects around town that residents question.

I know that this announcement will upset some people, particularly the Middletown Soccer League and the Pop Warner Eagles; Middletown Soccer aligned themselves with the Township in pushing for the field upgrades at West Front Street and the Eagles who became the victims of the collateral damage inflicted on members of the Township Committee by SONIC and the Chargers in the fight against the sports complex at West Front Street.

It was never in dispute, the playing field of the Pop Warner Eagles at Croydon Hall was going to be upgraded as a multi-sports playing field as part of the Township’s turf project but Parks and Recreations Director Greg Silva made it clear during at meeting with the Chargers, that if they succeeded in their efforts to derail the West Front Street field upgrade then the upgrade at Croydon Hall would also be canceled as a result. So I guess he wasn’t lying.

While this is a clear victory for SONIC and those who questioned whether or not it was prudent for the Township to move forward with this turf project because of current economic conditions, the victory for the Chargers is somewhat less and not much of a victory at all.

With the bad blood and hurt feeling inflicted on the Township Committee by the Chargers, Trezza Field may never get the field upgrades that are so badly needed for the continued and future success of their program.

The Independent has a related story that should also be read.

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Filed under artificial turf fields, Chargers, Lincroft, Mayor Scharfenberger, Middletown Township Committee, Pop Warner, Sonic, sports complex, Tony Mercantante