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More Apartments To Be Added To Oceanport Village Center

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OCEANPORT: The saga of where to place two affordable housing units in the borough has come to an end.

After the original options for placing the units, which came about as a result of the lawsuit filed by a developer in 2005 which stated that the borough was not filling its affordable housing requirements, did not pan out, the plan now is to place them in the Oceanport Village center on the corner of East Main Street and Port Au Peck Avenue.

Oceanport Business Administrator Ray Poerio said that the planning board approved the plans to convert the 14 retail units in the center to apartments.

"Because of this action we have now satisfied the two units originally to be built on Pemberton," Poerio said at the July 20 Oceanport Council meeting. "It's satisfying our second round (affordable housing obligation), it's good news all around for the borough."

The apartments will be located on the first floor of the northern section closest to Mia's in the Old Village Center where all of the units originally designated for retail are empty. The Oceanport Planning Board approved a variance to allow the change during its June 27 meeting. The variance was required as the change increases the number of allowed residential units in the building from 36 to 50, including the two affordable housing units.

The borough's Master Plan allows for both residential and commercial development along East Main Street, whether it is a mixture of both or all residential or all commercial.

Mayor Jay Coffey has said the court, and Habitat For Humanity, which is carrying out the affordable housing project, agreed to this idea.

Habitat For Humanity had identified an empty, municipally-owened lot on the corner of Pemberton Avenue and East Main Street as the space where it like the two 1,200-squre-foot homes to be built.

However, the lot is located across the street from the Oceanport First Aid Squad, and is currently used as an overflow parking lot for the building. Squad members and Pemberton Avenue residents have said that the loss of the parking lot would cause people to park along the street and in front of homes.

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