OCEAN TOWNSHIP: On Thursday, March 8 at 7 p.m., the council will hold a meeting to go over the Ordinance 2303 designed to bring part of the town zoning requirements up to date.
This 10-year Master Plan update exercise is required by law to keep the rules on zoning requirements in tune with the ways the municipality has grown, recognizing changes in uses and development over the years since it was last modified.
The ordinance will specifically look at the tract of land at the corner of Route 35 and Deal Road. The update would allow for additional uses such as a gas station and hotel in the zone. The zoning currently allows ground floor commercial office space and the second floor residential.
This land is under consideration for development, by a new entity, even as that property is in the midst of a legal action which deals with an earlier application for zoning variations.
The land has been owned by Ahold USA, owners of Stop & Shop, since 2001. The developers wanted to build a supermarket on the site, but a change to the zoning in 2006 did not allow their plan to move forward; prompting an ongoing lawsuit against the town. However, Paramount Realty is now in the process of purchasing the property and may try to move their plans forward
Recently, as this Master Plan action has been progressing, a property developer, Paramount Realty had invited the public to see their plans even as those plans have been in formative stages and nothing has been filed with the town. Two presentations over the past year have given the public the opportunity to interact with the developer before a formal application is made. The interactions with the public and others have encouraged the developer to modify the original thoughts and plans and have created oppositions and acceptances from different residents and businesses.
The council will allow residents to ask questions about the ordinance and will likely vote on whether or not to approve it following the public hearing.