By NEIL SCHULMAN
Don Epstein, owner and developer of the former Oakhurst Country Day Camp on Monmouth Road in Ocean Township, gave an update on the property at the Township Council meeting last week.
He said the Planning Board approved a series of residential units on the property in 2013, but the paperwork has gone slowly.
“It’s been a seven-year compliance process,” Epstein said.
Covid restrictions over the last years slowed things down, but he said that the documentation is almost complete.
“I had everything scheduled [to start work] in April and now it’s July,” he said. “We’re talking about some minor language.”
Among other provisions that have been ironed out is that homeowners cannot rent out buildings to college students. The drainage and storm management plan is also in place. He said that what remains is mostly minor details such as addressing typos.
In other business, Police Captain Michael Sorrentino has been named acting police chief and is expected to be named chief. Police Chief Steve Peters retired last month.
Mayor Chris Siciliano said Sorrentino is an experienced officer who knows the town well.
“He’s put many years in the police force,” he said.
The council also voted 4 to 1 to introduce an ordinance regulating cannabis-based businesses. Officials said that some details of the plan, however, such as licensing fees, might be changed in the future.
The ordinance allows licenses to be issued for cultivation, wholesale, manufacturing and distribution of marijuana. Only one license for each of those four uses will be issued. The ordinance does not permit marijuana retail or delivery businesses. While out-of-town delivery businesses can ship to Ocean Township, they are not allowed to make residential deliveries.
Deputy Mayor John Napolitano said that the fees charged for licenses, $5,000-$10,000, might be a little low. Bayonne is charging up to $40,000 for a license fee and anticipates no problems getting businesses to pay that annually.
“There’s a lot of money in this stuff,” he said.
Ocean’s ordinance is modeled after the same one Keyport and Freehold are using — the same attorney-drafted all of them — and those charge $5,000-$10,000.
Councilman Robert Acerra voted against the ordinance, saying that he believes New Jersey hadn’t given enough guidance on what is and isn’t allowed to make good decisions yet.