TOMS RIVER – The governing body is continuing to push for a new Veterans Administration building in Toms River.
The most local one, the James J. Howard Outpatient Clinic in Brick, is overburdened. It’s in a space too small to grow in. The Veterans Administration is looking for a site that could accommodate an 80,000 square-foot building with at least 480 parking spaces.
Toms River wants the VA to build a new building in the area of Hooper Avenue and Caudina Avenue. This is the intersection near a few banks and the Presbyterian Church of Toms River where drivers can find the back entrance to the Seacourt Mall. Toms River Councilman Maurice Hill said that his town put in a letter of intent to have the clinic built there. The spot is centrally located in the county, and close to the Veterans Service Bureau.
The Township Council passed a resolution at its last meeting asking the Planning Board to determine if that property could be deemed an area in need of redevelopment. The designation “area in need of redevelopment” means that a space is underutilized and the town has plans for what they want to see there. This was done to show the Veterans Administration that Toms River is still very interested in having the building there.
Meanwhile, Brick still wants to host the VA building, albeit in another location. Brick Mayor John Ducey has suggested a plot of land in the triangle between Route 88, Jack Martin Boulevard, and Burrsville Avenue. It is across the street from Ocean Medical Center.
Although the land is currently zoned as a hospital support zone, a developer has shown interest in it. There is currently an application before the Brick Board of Adjustment to develop the 9.3-acre site. Kamson Corporation, of Englewood, wants to build “Bay Pointe Village,” which would be about 48,000 square feet of retail space and 92 apartments. That plan has not yet been voted on by the board. Kamson Corporation has also submitted a letter of interest to lease the property to the VA for the clinic.