Lawsuit to be Heard Friday on Berkeley Township Affordable Housing Proposal
A lawsuit against Berkeley Township over opposition to a proposed affordable housing project on Route 9 goes before Ocean County Superior Court Judge Vincent J. Grasso this Friday at 9:30 a.m..
Township attorney Gregory P. McGuckin said the Mayor and Council are vigorously opposed to providing The Walters Group with a Resolution of Need. The document would allow the Barnegat developer to be eligible for millions of dollars in federal Sandy aid the state received to complete the affordable housing project.
"As a result we've been sued by the Walters, The NAACP [National Association for the Advancement of Colored People], and the Latino Action Network, all of whom are suing us and the Township is vigorously fighting that requirement," said McGuckin.
Residents opposed to the project have sent a petition with more than 700 names to New Jersey State Senator Christopher J. Connors (R) and his 9th Legislative Delegation. Connors said he has forwarded the petition to the direct attention of the New Jersey Housing and Mortgage Finance Agency, which would provide the funding the developer needs.
"We think it's an inappropriate use of Sandy money. We think it’s an insult to the people who experienced damage along the waterway area, and we’ve expressed our concerned," said Connors.
Other potential impacts of concern include additional traffic, overcrowded schools and higher taxes.
"Route 9 is well beyond capacity. It's an unimproved two-lane cow path as far as we're concerned, and to dump additional traffic onto an already heavily trafficked road is not a positive for Berkeley Township or the region," said Connors. "Additionally, there will be an impact on the schools, which has to concern the property taxpayers in Berkeley Township, and then there's also the potential use of Super storm Sandy money for a brand new housing development when people who have had houses destroyed and waiting the rebuilding of their homes haven't received any recovery money at all."
A request for a response from The Walters Group on the lawsuit has not been returned.