On May 19, the board decided with a vote of five to two to deny a use variance needed for the project to go forward.
On Monday, OCEAN Inc. Executive Director Ted Gooding said the nonprofit dedicated to improving community in Ocean County would not abandon the project. “We will reapply, we will tweak the application and be back, we do not intend to walk away.”
At the start of the May 19 meeting, Gooding said the last time he and his attorney had come to the board, back in April, their application for a use variance had been carried, but because he wanted to hear the concerns of the nearby residents, he had met with them outside. After hearing concerns about how close the development to some houses in Tuckerton Estates would be, he decided to change the application for the use variance from 35 detached micro houses to 24 and leave more of the site nearest the existing houses wooded and untouched.
OCEAN Inc. bifurcated the proceedings into this attempt to receive a land use variance, with a more developed site plan to follow. The reason they did this was to first be sure the town was in agreement with their plan before paying the engineer and an architect to develop the plans.
The 6.8-acre site on the northwest side of Route 9 is zoned general business but also is conditionally approved for cluster, attached housing.
OCEAN Inc. needs the use variance because what it is proposing is detached cluster housing with a small community center.
According to a land use board member who wanted to remain anonymous, questions to Gooding and OCEAN Inc. attorney Stephen Smith by the board were answered too vaguely for approval.