Howell: 2017 A Look Back

The MacKenzie House on Lakewood-Farmingdale Road is a historical landmark that people in the community would like to see restored. (Photo by Sara Grillo)

HOWELL –   Howell is a large township with some leftovers from a more farm-centered way of life. With encroaching development, people were concerned about the development in their town.

Land Use Debates

  Affordable housing, like in a lot of other large towns, is an issue in Howell. The town is obligated to provide a certain number of units of affordable housing, but residents don’t want more development.

There were many developments discussed during the year. Here are just a few:

  • A new senior living center was proposed for Route 33, on a grassy area near The Cabin Restaurant.
  • A shopping center was proposed on a site on Route 9, north of Casino Drive.
  • “Wildbrook Ranch,” featuring tree orchards, crops, an indoor riding area, a barn, paddocks, a clubhouse for personal use with three residential apartments above it, and a skeet shooting field for personal use, was proposed on Megill Road, near Belmar Boulevard.
  • The fate of the historic Mackenzie House at 427 Lakewood-Farmingdale Road was questioned, since the old museum is in need of repairs.
  • An office building was proposed off on Ford Road, off Route 9.
  • A self-storage center was proposed on Route 9 between Casino Drive and West Farms Road.
  • The New Jersey Department of Environmental Protection Preservation Trust Fund approved a $750,000 grant to purchase the Pierce Farm under the Green Acres program. This is a 123-acre property along Maxim Road.

 Solid Waste Transfer Site

Residents were concerned about a 1,500-ton solid waste transfer site being proposed at the intersection of Randolph Road and County Road 527. The facility, which allows Monmouth County to update its solid waste plan, would be used to sort bulky clean-up and construction debris.

Residents who live in close proximity to the area spoke out against the plan at an August town council meeting, citing the pollution, noise and traffic it would add to the area, as well as the overall lack of community awareness surrounding the project.

Photo courtesy of Google Maps.

 Eagle Ridge Approved

Residents, already feeling the walls of development coming in from all sides, were upset that the former Eagle Ridge Golf Course in Lakewood was going to be the site of about 1,800 homes, plus assorted other buildings. Residents from several nearby towns pointed to problems with the application, which included the impact on the environment, but especially the impact on traffic.

Ultimately, the New Jersey Department of Environmental Protection published an “intent to settle,” which reduced the headcount to a total of 1,034 units, plus five community center buildings, a clubhouse, a 23,387 square foot retail building and another 44,677 square-foot retail building.

Tent City Sanctioned

The governing body formally sanctioned the “Howell Transitional Camp,” a homeless encampment in town. It had been run out of Lakewood years ago, but Howell officially recognized it.

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Chris Lundy is News Editor at Micromedia. He has covered Ocean County news and features in various publications since 2003. Lundy worked for Gannett with articles in The Beacon, Observer and Asbury Park Press. He's also written for the Community Connection, Patch and ShoreBeat.