Because SBB blew the whistle,Berkeley Township, led by planners and engineers Schoor DePalma, withdrew the NJ Pulverizing site (Fisher’s Pit) from possibile residential development in their new “Visioning Statement”. That still leaves hundreds of acres directly across from Pine Beach open to massive residential development. THE COUNCIL VOTED WITHOUT EVER READING SCHOOR DEPALMA’S VISION PLAN.
BERKELEY HAS ENTERTAINED THE IDEA TO REZONING THE NJ PULVERIZING SITE FOR MASSIVE RESIDENTIAL DEVELOPMENT ON FOUR OCCASIONS IN FOUR YEARS, ALWAYS AFTER CLAIMING THAT NO REZONING IS PLANNED:
2000 – August and September – John Russo, Sr., writes Berkeley Township on behalf of his client K. Hovnanian requesting rezoning of the NJ Pulverizing site for 1600 residential units. Instead of rejecting the proposal outright, the Township downplays the possibility of rezoning and promises that nothing will happen without environmentalists being made aware. This promise is made only after Save Barnegat Bay requests that the rezoning be rejected outright.
2001 – March – In violation of their promise, the Township Council allows K. Hovnanian to make a “surprise” presentation in pursuit of the rezoning of the NJ Pulverizing site. Environmentalists are not invited. If K. Hovnanian’s presentation was in truth a surprise, the Mayor and Council could have honored their word by simply informing K. Hovnanian that they would have to return at a later date when the environmental community and the public had been advised. Save Barnegat Bay publicly protests this breach of faith, and the Township announces for the second time that the zoning will not be changed. K. Hovnanian sues the Township in an attempt to change the zoning.
2002 – October – After months of delay, Schoor DePalma has still not submitted reports necessary for the Township to win the lawsuit filed by K. Hovnanian. Save Barnegat Bay publicly protests this suspicious delay. The very next day Schoor DePalma submits the needed reports . The Township for the third time assures the public that the NJ Pulverizing site will not be rezoned.
2003 – February – Schoor DePalma authors a “Visioning Statement” in which the NJ Pulverizing site is rezoned residential as part of a mixed use “Town Center”. This is a doubly dishonest step, because (1) it betrays the longstanding claim of the Council that the site will not be rezoned and (2) by invoking the “Town Center” concepted Schoor DePalma is engaging the State Planning process; Schoor DePalma had given no previous indication the “Visioning Process” was part of the State Planning process. This is the fourth attempt by the Township or its consultants, Schoor DePalma, to rezone this site in less than four years.
At a Council Meeting on February 25, the Council withdrew the NJ Pulverizing site from possible residential development in the “Visioning Statement”, but left in hundreds of acres for possible residential development directly across Route 9 from Pine Beach. THE COUNCIL VOTED WITHOUT EVER READING THE VISIONING PLAN.
See how political money flows in Berkeley Township.