The Ocean Township Planning Board has approved an application for 75 new single-family housing units on an 80-acre tract at the intersection of Green Grove Road and West Park Avenue.
Toll Brothers, based in Horsham, Pa, was granted approval to build the 75 upscale, age-restricted homes on the site, which is the former Apple Farm property on the south side of W. Park Ave., west of Route 18 and diagonally across from the township’s Intermediate School.
The board granted preliminary and final major subdivisions and site plan approval with variances.
Originally, Toll Brothers had proposed two options for developing the site: a 114-unit project with 20 percent of the units designated for affordable housing; or a 102-unit development that would include a $2.6 million commitment to the township’s affordable housing trust fund.
Mayor Christopher Siciliano said the township negotiated with the company to reduce the project to its current number of units and make it age-restricted. He said the company is now contributing $1.8 million to the township’s affordable housing trust fund plus other contributions.
Sicilaino said that the project just approved is certainly much better than previous proposals to develop the site.
“A few years ago there was a much more aggressive plan and a high-housing density that was not right for Ocean Township,” he said.
He said that one of the earliest proposals called for 500 apartments to be built at the same site.
“We can’t stop them from developing the site but this is now smart growth and something we can deal with. It is a much lower density, will have no impact on the schools, and preserves a lot of the open space on the site that is more sensitive to the environment,” he said.
Out of the 80-acre tract, only 24 acres will be used for the development with the rest of the property, comprised of woods and wetlands, left pretty much undisturbed.
However, about 2,000 or more trees will be removed from the property which has raised some concern by environmental groups.
Some township residents, most living near the proposed development, have expressed various concerns about the project but these were mostly worked out between the residents and Toll Brother representatives.
Traffic, which is already congested in this part of the township, also remains a big concern with residents.
But Siciliano said that a West Park Avenue corridor study has been conducted and that the township is working with county officials to implement the plan, which will widen sections of the road and create a better traffic flow.
“That study is in full swing right now and moving ahead,” he said.