The Toms River Township Council this week approved a resolution to allow an age-restricted, senior citizen complex to be built on municipal-owned land at the intersection of Massachusetts and Cox Crow Road, as part of its state-mandated affordable housing plan.

Township Planner Jay Lynch said the developer, Barnegat-based Walters Group, would construct the 130 unit complex on the 11 acre property, a site that has been zoned for affordable housing for at least the last 12 years. "This is the first real opportunity that we've had in the last half-a-dozens years or so to actually see it materialize because of a preference in funding related to sandy damage and some higher priority given to locations for what's called a Tax Credit Application, which is a federal program related to affordable housing. But those priorities were given to Ocean and Monmouth Counties, and this is one of three projects that we're looking at in Toms River as part of that higher priority allocation," said Lynch.

Lynch said the other two projects the Township is considering for Massachusettes Avenue include another 80-unit age-restricted development and a 72-unit complex for developmentally disabled people.

Affordable housing projects, such as the one Walters Group would build, would be done through an agreement with the Township in which the developer makes a yearly payment based for the length of the mortgage in lieu of property taxes. "It provides them with predictability in their budgeting and it's a requirement that's been in place from the New Jersey Housing and Mortgage Finance Agency for many, many years," Lynch said, noting the Township has a handful of other projects that have a similar arrangement. In the Walters Group case, he said how much the developer pays will be determined as the project evolves because it's still in the very preliminary planning stage, "But it would probably be in the order or magnitude of around $100,000 a year," he said.

Lynch said the next step is for Walters Group to put together a development application, conduct a survey of the property and determine if there's any environmental issues that must be dealt with. The plan that would be submitted to the Township Planning Board for review.