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Nursing Facility Opposition Submits Petition, Mayor Responds

Concerned residents collected 1,036 signatures which were presented to Mayor Michael Fressola

A petition signed by over 1,000 Manchester residents was presented to Mayor Michael Fressola earlier this week expressing concerns over the controversial variance and site plan application for a . 

The petitioners, in a letter dated on Oct. 10 and received by the mayor's office on Oct. 11, state that Fressola "has not reached out to residents who will be impacted by the proposed nursing home."

"It is particularly disheartening that you have taken the words of the applicant at face value even after it has been shown that the applicant was untruthful about the certificate of need," the letter states.

In an open letter to the 1,036 petitioners dated Oct. 12, Fressola addresses the certificate of need question and other issues raised by the signatories.

"I have not spoken to the applicant," Fressola writes. "I was told by an attorney that they had a certificate of need."

Note — both letters, in their entirety, are available as PDF documents in this article's media box.

The proposed $25 million, 180-bed Manchester Rehab Realty facility would be built in a residential zone at 3086 Ridgeway Rd. and thus requires a land use variance from Manchester's zoning board of adjustment. The application was  and a groundswell of opposition has grown since, requiring public meetings to be held in township schools rather than the municipal courtroom to accommodate the hundreds of spectators. 

The petitioners write that Fressola has a friendship with the applicant's attorney, Harvey York, and that the mayor has "helped the applicant further his application at the Zoning Board without considering all of the relevant facts."

Fressola responds that, while he has know the attorney professionally for over 20 years and has "always found him to be honest and forthright," he has "no friendship" with York and does not interfere with any decisions by Manchester's boards.

"I have always provided them with any verified information I had about an applicant — no more, no less," Fressola writes.

The petitioners argue that other Ocean County facilities run by the applicant have received low star ratings from the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services and allege that grounds are unkempt.

They also state that two facilities have federal tax liens against them and add that a former business partner has accused "one of the principals" of Ocean Healthcare Management of engaging in "embezzlement, fraud and other defalcations."

"Are these the type of of individuals and businesses the township really wants to attract to the detriment of thousands of residents?" the letter states.

The petitioners state that, if the facility should be built in Manchester, it should be done in an area zoned for such a business, not in a residential district. 

"This way, the township can have its $25 million ratable and the promised 300 new jobs while maintaining the integrity of the master zoning plan," they write.

Fressola counters that this statement is "very strange in view of your opinions of the applicant."

"If this applicant is so bad, why do you think it would be OK to build it somewhere else in town? Do the other residents in town not count?" he asks.

The mayor closes his letter by stating that he declare his position on the facility once "all the facts are known and vetted."

"I am, after all, the mayor of all the residents of Manchester ... You have every right to protest against this proposal. All I ask is that you wait until all the facts are known," Fressola states.

In September, made by those opposed to the facility that the applicant re-submit plans after alterations to the original design were made. That hearing was then adjourned so that the plan on file with the township could be updated. 

Though originally to be held at , the board will next continue to hear the matter at on Oct. 27 at 7 p.m.

Billabong October 14, 2011 at 10:16 AM
This petition states that if the business is built in town, it should be in a commercially zoned area and not a residential one. Further proof that this group could care less if the facility is built as long as it is not in its own backyard. I'm not a fan of the current Mayor at all but he has one thing right when he asked: "If this applicant is so bad, why do you think it would be OK to build it somewhere else in town? Do the other residents in town not count?" I'd like to see those who signed the petition answer that question.
JOE BONANNO October 14, 2011 at 10:46 AM
I believe the initial issue should be is there property currently appropriately zponed for this facility already in town ? If do, why is the extraordinary relief of a variance even being considered? If not, then the application should proceed through normal channels which should include ascertaining the qualifications of the applicannt.
A Citizen4Truth October 14, 2011 at 02:34 PM
I went to the zoning meetings as an unbiased observer. What I saw happening astounded me. The representative for the company lied under oath saying they had a certificate of need from the state to build this and then it was found out they didn't. Then they called it a 'skilled nursing facility' like that is something new even though all nursing homes are for Medicare. Later, their lawyer referred to it as a nursing home once the town planner did his report liking it to an assisted living cause he didn't know what SKN is. One resident pointed out nursing homes needs 30 acres and they have 14. (Another twist of the story.) They also bragged about how great their nursing homes are and told people they could visit them but banned them from Crystal Lake. I sat there shaking my head wondering what would come out next and wondering what the people living in Bayville thought was going on at that facility. I could not believe how the citizens were not allowed to comment either.
A Citizen4Truth October 14, 2011 at 02:45 PM
This is a massive facility trying to be put on a small property that was bought as residential and now they want it changed. Why is everyone so angry with these citizens? They seem to abide by the law and pay their taxes. Don't they deserve to live peacefully? Who would choose to live with a huge facility like this? These people didn't and if they try to sell their homes, who will want to live there so they are the ones losing out on probably one of their biggest investments. Never mind the noise, traffic, and the view. My congratulation to them for supporting each other. I sat there hearing this company's story continuously changing to cover up the things they are trying to slip by. Kudos to the citizens (all ages) of Manchester for sticking together. This is residential put it somewhere commercial. The Township should go after the applicants for lying. Find out the truth before you weigh in on the residents of Manchester. Why do you think the Board called for an adjournment? Too many inconsistencies!
A Citizen4Truth October 14, 2011 at 02:46 PM
If any of you want to know the reason these citizens are concerned go to the Manchester Board of Adjustments office and read the ten page letter from the attorney Lisa John in the file for Manchester Rehab Realty and you will see like me why the BOA had to adjourn the meeting. The editors for the Asbury Park Press should go there and read it and just like me, you will change your thoughts and know that Manchester residents have a valid objection.
orlando October 14, 2011 at 07:04 PM
this project has no impact on the neighbors - they are just a front for another nursing home that does not want competition !!! Who is paying the bills ???
American Mom October 14, 2011 at 07:47 PM
If you think this has no impact on the neighbors--drive down their streets. This facility will be more than 190,000 square feet of floor space, that's about 15 times the size of the Manchester Public Library! The back access road will be about 35 feet from some of the neighbors properties. It will also impact those living on Route 571 because of the dangerous increase in traffic slowing down to enter and those exiting and taking left turns. Go down to the town zoning and examine the site maps. If you already have then maybe you are responding this way because you have a vested interest in this project.
American Mom October 14, 2011 at 07:55 PM
I couldn't have said it better. I am a mom with school age children. I went to the meeting to hear both sides. The attacks in the media by others (whom you have to question their motives) has been unbelievable. I too went to see what the lawyer John submitted in objection. Everything she stated was facts. I encourage Manchester residents of all ages to come out and support these citizens.
EspressoMan October 15, 2011 at 02:15 PM
Dear Orlando - i'm a resident who lives immediately next to this proposed facility, in a nice residential area...and moved here knowing i was surrounded by nice residential land (and neighbors!). I'm NOT in one of the Adult Communities, but rather joe citizen. We are NOT against Nursing Homes - just against changing this nice R-40 area into a 'not residential' area. Getting back to Mr. Mayor, why not address the fact that over 1000 residence signed a petition against the VARIANCE change? NO Nursing Home has joined the 'Citizens of Manchester' cause by funding or siding with us. Our feeling is that they are all connected somehow, through an interesting business web - and none have stepped forward to speak up, to-date.
EspressoMan October 15, 2011 at 10:25 PM
It was never a flea market... previously, a farmer owned it, Bill, who took good care of his property. Before he sold, he did have a few ladies setup and sell antiques. This was a very low volume activity, and we hardly knew it was even there.
Shari M October 16, 2011 at 11:05 PM
Just what Manchester needs....more seniors! It doesn't matter that it's a nursing facility we don't need the added traffic that it would cause. I agree that the company should be held liable for deliberately lying under oath...if it were a plain citizen of manchester that lied under oath u can believe we would have been held accountable for it. Do they get away with it simply because they are a corporation. take a look around the world and who is causing all these financial problems.... corporations and banks. Typical of this world.
Rose October 17, 2011 at 04:19 PM
Elections are coming up.......would you re-elect our present mayor? I wouldn't!
orlando October 17, 2011 at 07:04 PM
the mayor has no say in this - it is up to the board of adjustment - at least learn what is going on
EspressoMan2 October 18, 2011 at 01:19 AM
If the Mayor has no say in it, then why did he make comments in the Aug. 17th Manchester Times? The mayor admitted to having many conversations with the applicant's attorney (outside of the board of adjustments process). What is going on is back-room politics, and many attempts to keep us citizens out of the loop and process.
Rodger October 27, 2011 at 06:23 PM
That's a very good question. Who is paying this lawyers bills? No one asked me for money but I keep getting letters in the mail and asked to support this crazy fight. Maybe someone should ask Lisa John where her check comes from!!! Did anyone think of that? I'd like to know the answer. Also, to A Citzen4Truth and American Mom - you simply don't know what you're taking about. I have never experienced such a level of ignorance.
Donald J Borst November 01, 2011 at 06:06 PM
Unfortunately politics rules today. The American taxpayer is only here to pay all of the bills run up by the powers to be. When was the last time any of us heard a politician mention their constituency. We are left out of everything because BIG BROTHER, the politicians, think they know better than us and therefore should make all the decisions for us. They all scratch each others backs.
Renee November 07, 2011 at 01:24 PM
This should definitely not be built in a residential area. Did people hear or read what the proponent's attorney said at the meeting in late October? Mr. York stated and I quote from Asbury Park Press of Sat. Oct. 29th, "Not the mayor, not the council, not this board, nor the objectors have the right to determine how a nursing facility is run or who will be housed there!" Does this say something to the Mayor and the Boards of Manchester? Wake up!
Donald J Borst January 13, 2012 at 08:46 PM
Please, please, please, let's continue to fight for our rights against this project folks. The big boys will always try to crush us.


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