The number of townhouses to be built on a 32-acre site at the intersection of Deal Road and Route 35 in Ocean Township will be cut almost in half under a proposal to bond for $4 million to purchase 10 acres of the site.
The development plan by Paramount Realty, which has been approved by the Planning Board, includes a 112-room Marriott Residence Inn, a Wawa gas station and convenience store, and a Chick-Fil-A restaurant along the Route 35 corridor.
The same project calls for 70 upscale townhouses on a 17-acre eastern portion of the site along Deal Road, near the public library.
Mayor Christopher Siciliano said a new proposal will both preserve open space and cut back on the number of townhouses to be built.
He said that the township will bond for $4 million to purchase 10 acres on the 32-acre site. which will be preserved as open space. The bond will be paid off using the estimated $500,000 raised each year through the township’s Open Space Tax, which was recently approved by voters.
“So, 70 townhouses will go to 40 and we are not raising taxes to purchase the property. We have been back and forth on the plan but we are close to making it happen,” he said.
The mayor said a pending lawsuit filed by objectors to the project is holding up the purchase.
“It’s a great deal and we just need to resolve these lawsuits,” he said.
An earlier proposal called for taking all 70 townhouses out of the project and preserve that 17 acres as open space. Instead, 17 acres of vacant land behind Cindy Lane and Clearview Drive, property that backs up to the existing Twinbrook Village apartment complex, would be developed. The site once contained about 80 townhouses that were destroyed by fire in the 1980s with the property being vacant ever since.
Siciliano said that environmental and other concerns mean that the property, an old dump site, is not ready to be swapped. Only about eight out of the 17 acres could be developed right now.
“It needs some environmental cleanup and this will take more time than the developer will allow. They want to get going on their plan,” he said.