Forum on Foodtown Redevelopment
The site had been dormant for about ten years, until an agreement was reached with a redeveloper under the former Acropolis Administration. Since then, the redeveloper has proposed changing the initial plans and wants build 190 condominiums and 72 apartments above a strip mall.
John Zingas, one of the Founders of The Friends of Forge Pond, said they're opposed to the current proposal and would instead like to see a smaller, national hotel, a community and aquatic center, and pedestrian and boat access to the pond.
"It has nothing to do with what the original intent of the redevelopment agreement was, and that was a larger scale hotel. Secondly, we believe this is totally not in the best interest of Brick Township residents, it's not smart growth, and it could potentially jeopardize the Brick water supply system," Zingas said. He added, "We'll have a discussion, a presentation, on what we've come up with as far as research is concerned, the impact of taxes, which is really important."
The Friends of Forge Pond has sent a couple of letters about its ideas to the Brick Township Council, but according to Zingas, hasn't received a response. "Our letters are public information because we want to continue to have an open, transparent and honest discussion about this development," he said.
Brick Mayor John Ducey, who was elected in November, said he is opposed to any residential units on the former Foodtown site. "As long as I'm Mayor, there's going to be absolutely no residential on that Foodtown property. It's the improper place to put residential units and that's why we're at a stand still," he said.
Ducey said the Township has a redevelopment attorney who is looking into all options, including either getting out of the agreement or having the redeveloper build something the Township would be happy with.
"Unfortunately the current redeveloper's agreement that was entered into years ago is very friendly to the redeveloper, not as friendly to the Town. So we have to work our way through that," Ducey said. The Mayor could not provide a time frame as to when the former Foodtown site would be discussed, but noted the Council plans to take it up after finishing two other redvelopment issues, including the final stages of a Solar Project and getting the Trader's Cove property under control.
"I've only been in office for 9 months. It's (former the Foodtown site) been sitting there since 2004," Ducey said. He added, "Unfortunately our hands are tied because of what a prior administration did by signing this agreement with the current redeveloper."
Ducey also noted the Township Council appointed a Citizens Redevelopment Committee, which is the proper channel to go through for information.
For more information about The Friends of Forge Pond NJ, go to http://www.friendsofforgepondnj.org/