By Vincent Todaro
Ocean Township — The fate of a proposed development on Roosevelt Avenue still hangs in the balance as the township, court, and developer debate how many units can be built on the site.
During the most recent council meeting, township attorney Martin Arbus said plans for the development are part of a lawsuit brought against the township and still being worked out. The town has faced four lawsuits because it did not provide enough affordable housing according to COAH (Council On Affordable Housing), said business administrator Andrew Brannan.
According to Arbus, the Roosevelt Avenue lawsuit has reached the stage where the court master has determined the site can hold up to 30 units. But the two sides remain far apart, with Roosevelt Properties LLC arguing the site can hold 44 units, and the township saying 20 is the maximum. Roosevelt Properties did back down from its initial request for 52 units.
Arbus said the site has 10 acres, but only about two of them are buildable.
Brannen said the township feels the site can hold only eight units per acre, or a total of 20 on the two and a half acres. He said there is also still a question of whether Roosevelt Properties is still entitled to a builder’s remedy, because the township has passed a resolution stating it will comply with affordable housing requirements.
The builder’s remedy is a legal option open to developers if they can prove a town has not met its affordable housing requirement. The remedy allows developers to put forth plans to build with greater density than the town allows so long as 20 percent of the units are slated for low or moderate housing.
If Ocean Township gets its way and only 20 units are built on Roosevelt, it would mean four would have to be for low or moderate income. Brannen noted the units would be rentals.
He said two of the four affordable housing lawsuits are still in litigation. The Martelli case was settled, and the court ruled in favor of the township regarding Avalon Bay’s proposed Apple Farms plan.
Originally published Dec. 22, 2011