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Council Approves Multifamily Residential Use in Town Center Zone

Commercial use in the area was not a draw to developers, council said

Township Council approved a changed to its zoning rules Monday evening, allowing multifamily development in the town center zone. 

The ordinance allows for apartments with a density of 10 units per acre on tracts of land 30 acres or larger in an area previously zoned for commercial use.

The township decided it was time for the change, which amends Chapter 245 of the township code, after the land lay undeveloped for many years, said Council President Craig Wallis.

"It's been there for a long, long time, and there isn't any interest," Wallis said before all council members — save for the absent Samuel Fusaro — voted in favor of approving the changes. "In the near future, I don't see [any commercial developments] going in there."

Bridgewater-based developer Pizzo and Pizzo is interested in building apartments in the town center, said township planner Tom Thomas at its meeting in early May. The 50-acre tract of land is near the Wells Fargo bank, diagonally across Route 37 from the municipal complex on Colonial Drive, and could accommodate 500 units. 

Resident Hank Glen questioned whether the township was making the correct decision by allowing multifamily use rather than waiting for a commercial developer to bring more business into Manchester. 

"We have to look at the potential of this land," he said. "Once multifamily housing goes in there, that's it."

The area has been zoned for commercial use for over 40 years without drawing development, Thomas said. Many potential builders have approached the township, yet "inevitably, they've fallen flat on their faces."

Thomas said that the 50-acre tract of land could potentially hold a big box store, but a multifamily development would bring in more tax revenue.

"[A multifamily housing] development is potentially a huge ratable," he said. 

The area would be "one of or the largest ratable in town," said business administrator Elena Zsoldos. 

Zoning the land for multifamily use is less of a drain on municipal services than single-family homes, according to Wallis.

Traffic in the area would likely not be impacted much, Thomas said, because the primary access point would be on Route 37. A secondary access point would be on Colonial Drive. But before anything is constructed, Thomas said that the plans will be properly scrutinized by township boards.

"There will be a lot of review," he said. 

Multifamily housing units could be a draw to young professionals — individuals starting out after graduating college who may not be able to afford a single-family home and would be less likely to have children, Wallis said. This should mean the housing would not have a substantial impact on schools, as children who have been longtime township residents graduate and are replaced by younger students.

"[Enrollment] numbers are always going to fluctuate," Wallis said. 

Thomas explained at Planning Board's regular May meeting that the ordinance is the result of an amendment to the Manchester's master plan and was recommended in a reexamination report two years ago.

Pizzo and Pizzo mostly develops in northern New Jersey, but has completed a project in Toms River. The company would maintain the complex if and when it is completed, according to Thomas. The property owners requested the zoning change, Thomas said.

"They are builders and managers," Thomas said. "It's not like they're going to build the units and walk off."

In accordance with affordable housing rules of the state, 20 percent, or 100 units, would be designated as low or moderate income housing, Thomas said. 

If a plan for a nearby 40 to 50-unit veteran's housing complex comes to fruition, Thomas said there has been "some discussion" of transferring those affordable housing units to that project.

The veteran's housing is being considered on Route 37 across the street and 400 to 500 feet to the west from the potential apartment site. If the affordable housing units are transferred, they would "probably" be funded by the potential Pizzo and Pizzo development, Thomas said.

Donald Czekanski, who in addition to his role as a planning board member also serves on the township's Veteran's Advisory Committee, said in May that Mayor Michael Fressola has been working toward getting the veteran's housing project to come to fruition. 

"We've had some discussions about it," he said. "I think it's a real great plan if it materializes."

Transferring the units to the potential veteran's housing would be beneficial to both developers, Thomas said. The apartment developer would receive regular-priced rent from more units while the veteran's complex will be maintained by a nonprofit organization.

A draft ordinance for the veteran's housing project is anticipated at the next planning board meeting. 

WhitingBoy May 30, 2012 at 03:45 PM
And guess who contributed to the campaign of Fressola, Wallis and Wiener??? They don't even try to hide this....shuodl we have wondered why they woudn't allow this to go to the bd of adjustemetns for a variance request??? Wow... http://www.elec.state.nj.us/ElecReport/ContribByContributorsActiveXViewer.aspx?&Page=S&LastName=pizzo
ballyjduf May 30, 2012 at 05:36 PM
NICE WORK ON THE RESEARCH WHITINGBOY - MAYOR /WALLIS /WIENER ...WHAT DO YOU HAVE TO SAY ABOUT THAT ? PIZZO JR, KENNETH S 1065 RT 22 W BRIDGEWATER, NJ 08807 300.00 5/9/2010 CONSTRUCTION TRADES PIZZO & PIZZO BUILDERS & DEVELOPERS 1065 RT 22 W BRIDGEWATER, NJ 08807 FRESSOLA, MICHAEL, MUNICIPAL, 2010, MAYOR, MANCHESTER TOWNSHIP, NONPARTISAN INDIVIDUAL MONETARY PIZZO JR, KENNETH S 1065 RT 22 W BRIDGEWATER, NJ 08807 300.00 5/4/2010 CONSTRUCTION TRADES PIZZO & PIZZO BUILDERS & DEVELOPERS 1065 RT 22 W BRIDGEWATER, NJ 08807 WEINER, BRENDAN, MUNICIPAL, 2010, MUNICIPAL OFFICE, MANCHESTER TOWNSHIP, NONPARTISAN INDIVIDUAL MONETARY PIZZO JR, KENNETH S 1065 RT 22 W BRIDGEWATER, NJ 08807 600.00 5/4/2010 CONSTRUCTION TRADES PIZZO & PIZZO BUILDERS & DEVELOPERS 1065 RT 22 W BRIDGEWATER, NJ 08807 FRESSOLA WALLIS & WEINER CMTE TO RE ELECT, MUNICIPAL, 2010, JOINT CANDIDATES CMTE, MANCHESTER TOWNSHIP, NONPARTISAN INDIVIDUAL MONETARY PIZZO JR, KENNETH S 1065 RT 22 W BRIDGEWATER, NJ 08807 300.00 5/4/2010 CONSTRUCTION TRADES PIZZO & PIZZO BUILDERS & DEVELOPERS 1065 RT 22 W BRIDGEWATER, NJ 08807 WALLIS, CRAIG A, MUNICIPAL, 2010, MUNICIPAL OFFICE, MANCHESTER TOWNSHIP, NONPARTISAN INDIVIDUAL MONETARY
Billabong May 30, 2012 at 07:22 PM
Not a bad return on an approximately $8,500 "investment." Charles Schwab has nuthin' on Pizzo & Pizzo.
ballyjduf May 31, 2012 at 12:52 PM
MAYOR /WALLIS /WIENER ...WHAT DO YOU HAVE TO SAY ABOUT THAT ?
MichaelH May 31, 2012 at 04:26 PM
The way this town is allowing a "few" to make major changes to the Master Plan is unbelievable. People need to step up and say enough is enough. The State relies on the municipalities to know what is best for its people but here it seems to be what is best for the big developers/builders and the mayor and council. They are out of control. Every one of them needs to be voted out. You want to help the citizens of Manchester, cut back on spending and stop all the over-building. Who are these people that they think they can easily rezone whatever they want to suit their friends. Then in a few years they will all move to Florida and they will leave all this mess for the citizens to deal with.
WhitingBoy May 31, 2012 at 05:27 PM
MichaelH, You are correct. It is not even what is going up or where. It may be a viable and valuable piece of our community. The problem is that they were allowed to usurp the authority of the Bd of Adjustments who should be hearing the variance request. That is what you and I would have had to do if we wanted to buy the property. The Mayor and his crew didn’t want what happened to the nursing home to happen to their contributors/buddies; so they make a one-time, one-property adjustment to the Master plan which was just redone! I can’t believe how obvious they make this…the quotes from the articles make them sound like cheerleaders for the company.
Whiting Folk! May 31, 2012 at 06:18 PM
The idea that commercial properties are not desireable is ludicrous. Not only does it provide excellent rateables it provides jobs! Also your telling me that these people in these smaller homes are not going to have children? Children that are going to put additional stress on our school systems and add to our school budget which will increase our taxes. We don't have enough commercial ratables in this town. We shoot down Walmart (we have the parking lot), we shoot down the Nursing home, but we are putting ten units per acre on land zoned commercial? This stinks to high heaven, they talk about preserving land and making this town more desireable to live in only when it serves them. But when it serves their own purposes they flip/flop and make excuses why it such a good idea. They say it has been zoned commercial for 40 years and is still there, Well how many times has the current government shot down commercial development in our town, you figure it out.
Whiting Folk! May 31, 2012 at 06:27 PM
Wheres the Mayor's pet snake... damit! (lol)
MichaelH May 31, 2012 at 07:42 PM
WhitingBoy, let us not forget that the land where the application of the nursing home on 571 was just withdrawn, not sold. Citizens need to keep aware that this same backdoor rezoning can happen wherever the council and mayor want. Many of these commercial businesses are approved not for jobs but for the financial and political support it brings the mayor and council. There have been many cases where these facilities come in as one thing and then change the type of service offered and expand, expand, expand. When this happens, those who bent the rules and approved them are down South spending the money they got from supporting the deals and avoiding New Jersey taxes. Meanwhile, those residents living in the towns are left to reduced home values and all the problems that come with it. We only have to look at the border of Manchester in north Toms River where Dover Woods was approved as assisted living and see what it now is and how much money is spent on the police responding to calls there to see what this out of control council and leadership could and will do to us.
ballyjduf June 01, 2012 at 01:46 PM
VOTE THEM OUT IS A GOOD PLAN .. WE NEED A CHANGE .. WHAT ARE THEY DOING TO CONTROL COSTS/TAXES , REMINDS ME OF THE 1980'S , WHO'S PADDING THERE POCKETS , IF THEY ALL AREN'T, WHY HASN'T ONE OF THE HONEST ONES CALLED THEM OUT
ballyjduf June 01, 2012 at 01:47 PM
PAY TO PLAY IN MANCHESTER
Billabong June 01, 2012 at 02:27 PM
What the mayor did here was a sham but stress on our school system? That's laughable. Manchester Seniors have been voting down the school budget for years (regardless of what's in the budget). So in addition to rejected budgets, the next move is population control (limit the number of kids that could potentially go to Manchester schools)? You want less stress on the schools? Try voting for a school budget at least once every Halley's Comet visit.
Whiting Folk! June 01, 2012 at 02:43 PM
@Billabong... I'm not a senior, I'm 45 years old and have a child in the Manchester School system. I vote for every budget and in every election. I'm not talking about population control, I'm talking about balancing out our tax ratables and providing jobs for our community. The people of this town have to use common sense, not how is going to affect me, but how it is going to affect all of us. Putting a Walmart in Manchester would have been a huge coup for us, providing tons of jobs and providing a huge ratable to add money to our towns coffers. But no we have to fight it tooth and nail because a few people might see a Walmart instead of an abadoned gas station. If we add students to our school system than we have add people to serve those students.. teachers, bus drivers, administrators, etc.. and you'll probably say they'll work with what they have... yeah that will happen..lol!
ballyjduf June 01, 2012 at 02:50 PM
MAYOR /WALLIS /WIENER ...WHAT DO YOU HAVE TO SAY ABOUT THAT ?
MichaelH June 02, 2012 at 07:22 PM
Let us not forget about township attorney Steven Secare. Most don't know his history. He was in this same post in Lakewood for many years and look how that turned out. He was the attorney for Dover Woods in Toms River until some in the town felt things weren't being handled ethically. Then in steps Mr. Harvey York to represent Dover Woods and now he is able to quickly slip many commercial projects by the Manchester Planning Board and the Board of Adjustments. Manchester residents should be scared by all that is being slipped into the town.
ballyjduf June 21, 2012 at 04:38 PM
http://www.elec.state.nj.us/ELECReport/ContribToCandidateDetailActiveXViewer.aspx?ID=275126&LastName=Fressola

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