By PETE WALTON
The Neptune City Borough Council has approved amendments to a redevelopment agreement involving a new 70-unit condominium complex which will also include an indoor pool and a gym.
Mark and Nicholas Walsifer, who own the property along Fifth Avenue between Steiner Avenue and Memorial Drive, will take on a partner to help build the units.
Mayor Andrew Wardell said the new partner, who was not identified at this week’s council meeting, would own slightly more than 50 percent of the project.
“There have been some changes to the plans,” explained Borough Attorney Jason Sena. “There were going to be three buildings previously, now it’s two buildings. They are adding additional parking spaces, and they want to change the schedule.”
Wardell said the number of units would remain the same.
According to the borough attorney, the developers also proposed language allowing them to assign the redevelopment rights to another party. Sena said he recommended that the council reject those changes.
“The attorney for the redeveloper said that was fine, we don’t have to include that change,” Sena said.
The council sent the proposed changes to the borough’s Land Use Board for review.
The property line between Neptune City and Neptune had to be redrawn before the project could be considered by the borough.
The redevelopment agreement was approved by the council in August of 2018. The land use board subsequently approved the site plan for the project.
In lieu of providing affordable housing units at the site, the developers agreed to put $350,000 into a low-interest loan fund to help borough homeowners improve their properties.
The money will be set aside as the new units are sold, according to the agreement. Residents will be able to apply for the loans, which will be awarded based on an income formula. If homeowners stay in their houses for a certain length of time, the loans will be forgiven.
In addition, the developers will contribute $50,000 for equipment and upgrades, split between the borough fire department, first aid, police and public works departments.
Amenities at the redeveloped site will include a clubhouse, an indoor pool and a gym.
Also at the meeting, Borough Administrator Chris Cherbini reported that the installation of new curbs and ramps along Woodland Avenue has been delayed pending discussions with New Jersey American Water Co.
Cherbini said the water main under Woodland Avenue is old and due for replacement. Rather than having to tear up the street twice, the borough wants to coordinate with the utility to address both issues at the same time.
The administrator said that as part of the ongoing updates at Riverview Park, a number of dead trees have been removed and will be replaced. Cherbini said he pushed for evergreen trees to be planted to help give the park year-round color.
Councilwoman Pamela Renee said that Monmouth County employees have replaced a nunber of trees in wetlands areas along East End Avenue.
Councilman Brian Thomas reported that the deadline to apply for the state’s “Senior Freeze” program has been extended to Dec. 31.
The program reimburses eligible New Jersey residents who are senior citizens or disabled persons for property tax increases on their principal residence.
Councilwoman Danielle Pappas said the borough’s police department thanked those who donated to the recent PBA fund drive. She said enough money was raised to provide 1,500 meals.
Wardell urged residents to patronize local restaurants by ordering takeout food as the establishments are likely to face new health-related restrictions imposed by the state.