County of Monmouth

July 24, 2009

Freeholders oppose Old Orchard Golf Course rezoning

FREEHOLD – The Monmouth County Board of Chosen Freeholders is urging Eatontown officials not to change the zoning at Old Orchard Golf Course to make way for construction of a dense, mixed-use development called Old Orchard Village at Eatontown.

Located on Route 36, Old Orchard straddles Eatontown, Oceanport and West Long Branch on its easternmost border along Route 71. A developer is proposing to build 535,000 square feet of retail space and 704 residential units on the site occupied by the Old Orchard Golf Club.

“The current zoning ordinances in Eatontown allows smaller-scale development such as recreation and single-family homes,” Freeholder Director Barbara J. McMorrow said. “Changing the zoning to allow for the Old Orchard Village project would adversely impact on the region.”

The resolution passed on Thursday by the Board of Chosen Freeholders was recommended by Freeholder Deputy Director John D’Amico and Freeholder Lillian G. Burry. The Eatontown Borough Council is expected to vote Aug. 5 on allowing the plan to move forward.

Development plans call for the construction of 32 conventional town homes, 148 rear access town homes, 140 courtyard town homes, 21 single-family homes, 288 luxury condominiums in four-story buildings, 535,000 square feet of retail space, a recreation center and a 22-acre park. The overall density of the residential component of the project would be about 7.2 housing units per acre.

“It also would entail the installation of a new traffic signal with 10 road lanes on Route 36, raising to seven the number of traffic signals between Route 71 and the Garden State Parkway on a stretch of highway already burdened with failed and poorly rated intersections,” D’Amico said. “It also may require a traffic signal on Route 71 in Oceanport. These will substantially increase traffic congestion in an area plagued by traffic tie-ups.

The plan development is independent of the work being done in the area by the Fort Monmouth Economic Revitalization Planning Authority (FMERPA) to develop the area once the fort closes.

“To have this independent of what FMERPA is trying to do does not pass the litmus test of good regional planning,” Burry said. “Facilities already there include Monmouth Park Racetrack, the New Jersey Motor Vehicle Commission and a whole array of businesses big and small. Why should the existing businesses be put in the position of unwieldy competition?”

The current zoning is consistent with the 2007 Master Plan and 2008 Housing Element and Fair Share Plan that states the golf club site is subject to development constraints from wetlands and flooding and has been designated as a proposed park site.

“If developed, the project also would generate additional greenhouse gas emissions and air pollution, create the possibility of flooding and remove from a fully developed region of Monmouth County its only remaining open space,” D’Amico said. “There is a tremendous regional impact on not only Eatontown, but also Oceanport, Long Branch and West Long Branch.”

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