BRICK – Proposed zoning changes in the township’s Master Plan would result in fewer multi-family apartment complexes in town and create a new Village Zone along three county roads where there is currently a mix of residential and businesses.
During the most recent Township Council meeting, the governing body introduced an ordinance that creates a Village Zone along Drum Point Road, Mantoloking Road and Herbertsville Road.
The intent of the Village Zone is to revitalize older commercial areas while maintaining the neighborhood character and quality, and permit apartment units only in conjunction with a non-residential use permitted in the zone.
It allows small businesses that have existing structures to make improvements without going before the Board of Adjustment, said Mayor John G. Ducey.
The Village Zone establishes standards and regulations for new construction along those three roads which currently have a “mishmosh” of housing, stores, apartments and apartment/store combinations, he said.
The mayor said that if somebody owns a business with an apartment upstairs, they can’t improve their property without going to the Board of Adjustment because it is a non-conforming use.
Going before the Board of Adjustment is expensive since a standard must be met, which means hiring engineers, architects and other professionals, he said.
“There’s a lot of places on these roads that really want to improve their look, but they’re just a small mom and pop business that don’t have the money to come before a board,” Ducey said.
It also limits the number of apartments allowed over a commercial building by limiting them to two.
“You might have a big huge piece of property but the most apartments they could build is two,” he said. “If they wanted to do more they’d have to go before the Board of Adjustment with all those expenses.”
The ordinance also eliminates the Mixed Use Overlay Zone for Brick, which was created in exchange with the state to allow the Costco project on Route 70 to go forward, the mayor said.
“They had to do more impervious coverage there, meaning they had to pave over more of it because the town center was extended to include that area, so in exchange for that, the state wanted something,” he said.
A Mixed Use Overlay Zone is a type of development that blends residential, commercial, cultural, institutional or entertainment uses in the same area.
In Brick, the four overlay zones created in the deal with the state include the former Foodtown site (home of a future sports dome and retail); Riverwalk (the Outback shopping center); the triangular wooded site at the intersection of Burrsville Rd./Route 88/Jack Martin Blvd., and New Visions – the residential and retail complex behind the post office.
“I definitely didn’t want [New Visions] to happen, but unfortunately it’s there and we’re all dealing with it,” Ducey said.
He said the mix of residential and retail there has caused “a lot of strain” on the schools, the roadway, and it has created a dangerous intersection at Ovation Way and Chambers Bridge Road.
Permitted uses in the Village Zone are listed in the ordinance, and they include retail, professional offices, restaurants, services and more.
Gas stations and auto repair/body shops are specifically prohibited in the zone, since “residents complain all the time about gas stations,” Ducey said.
He said the ordinance came about after township planners identified a trend in Board of Adjustment cases related to the mixed use.
“You’re trying to fix your facade and you’re like ‘Oh my God, the Board of Adjustment spent all my money on engineers and architects,’ so it’s going to legalize many structures that already exist which makes it easier for property owners with plans to upgrade and make improvements,” he said.
“This is going to be great,” Ducey added.
The ordinance could be up for a final vote at the next council meeting, which will be on Tuesday, Oct. 9 at 7 p.m.