Toms River fears homes at Eagle Ridge
Urges state to reconsider golf club development
Asbury Park Press USA TODAY NETWORK - NEW JERSEY
TOMS RIVER - Township Council members are urging the state to reconsider a decision to allow 1,034 homes to be built on the Eagle Ridge Golf Club in neighboring Lakewood.
The council unanimously adopted a resolution objecting to the state Department of Environmental Protection’s recent decision to grant developer GDMS Holdings permission to build on the golfcourse site. While the golf course is in Lakewood, it borders on the Toms River communities of Tallymawr Estates and Lake Ridge. The development would replace the 27-hole golf course.
“Once again, I question the wisdom of the DEP,” Councilman Maurice B. “Mo” Hill Jr. said. “ I think the density is way too intense for that area.”
Township officials have grown increasingly frustrated at the rapid pace of development in Lakewood, which they blame for increased traffic in Toms River. Northern sections of Toms River also are experiencing a building boom, with more than 1,400 units of housing either recently completed, under construction or approved to be built there.
Residents’ anger over the rapid pace of development in northern Toms River was likely one of the main reasons why three Democrats were elected to seats on the council on Nov. 7.
The last Democrat to hold office here was former Mayor Paul C. Brush, who did not seek re-election in 2007.
GDMS Holdings initially had requested approval to build more than 1,800 homes on the golf course.
The project was required to obtain a Coastal Area Facilities Review Act permit from the DEP, since it would be located on land deemed environmentally sensitive.
The DEP in August had denied permits, citing potential traffic woes and threats to animal and plant life.
But earlier this month, DEP announced a settlement with the developer that would allow 1,034 homes, including a mix of mix of single-family, duplex
and basement residences.
Also included are five community centers, a clubhouse and two large retail buildings.
Toms River had strongly objected to the initial development proposal.
In May, Township Planner Dave Roberts wrote a letter to the DEP urging that the GDMS Holding’s request for a CAFRA permit be denied.
Roberts noted that the Eagle Ridge proposal was never included by Lakewood as a town center or core in planning documents Lakewood submitted to the state.
Instead, the area is designated as a “coastal fringe planning area,” which includes lower-intensity land uses, like golf courses, recreation areas or farms.
Roberts argues intense development of the golf course property would violate Lakewood’s own planning documents, which suggest high-density development be steered north of Cross Street.
It would also negatively impact Toms River, and make its residents question “the reliability of the good faith and good planning that has been invested” in the township’s own planning process, Roberts wrote.
DEP is accepting comments on the settlement with GDMS Holdings through Nov. 30.
Comments regarding the settlement or requests for a copy of the project plan should be sent to Coastal Bureau Manager, Bureau of Coastal Regulation, Division of Land Use Regulation, NJDEP, Mail Code 501-02A, P.O. Box 420, Trenton, New Jersey, 08625-0420, or the office may be reached by telephone at 609-633-2289.
Jean Mikle: 732-643-4050, firstname.lastname@example.org