Oceanport has more time on affordable housing decision

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By KENNY WALTER
Staff Writer

OCEANPORT- The borough has received an extension to make a decision on the future of two Habitat for Humanity housing units, part of the borough’s affordable housing plan.

Mayor Jay Coffey said during the June 2 meeting that the borough has received an extension to make the ultimate decision on the project by a judge and a suggestion from a resident may breathe life into the original proposal to construct the houses on Pemberton Avenue.

“At the end of the day, we were given more time to analyze which of the properties would be the best for the place of the two units,” Coffey said. “A suggestion was made on the Pemberton property by two residents. They asked whether or not we would be willing to dead-end Pemberton on either end, Main Street end or Oceanport Avenue.”

Coffey said by creating a dead-end, it will reduce traffic and speeding issues on Pemberton Avenue.

“It was such a simple solution proposed by a guy who just lives there and thought about it for two minutes that day,” he said. “It is such a simple solution that would require 30 feet of curbing and would allow for off-street parking.

“Thirty professionals sat there and thought about and this guy maybe over a Coors Light had the answer.”

The three properties being looked at include a lot on Pemberton Avenue, a property on Myrtle Avenue on a portion of the site formerly used at Borough Hall and a property on Horseneck Point Road along a paper street

Coffey said the Horseneck Point Road proposal was discontinued as an option by the Borough Planning Board.

In 2012, the council selected Pemberton Avenue as the site for the two units, but Councilman Joseph Irace said borough professionals indicated that the Pemberton site would be a placeholder to satisfy the courts and the units would eventually be moved to Fort Monmouth.

Irace said the borough in the past has been subject to builder’s remedy lawsuits, particularly one filed in 2005 that was settled in recent years, but has cost the borough at least $800,000 to fight.

In recent months, the borough has held meetings to discuss the Pemberton property, which is currently being used as overflow parking for the nearby Oceanport Senior Center and Oceanport First Aid Squad.

Coffey also said during the meeting that the borough will be going out for a request for an expression of interest on the former Borough Hall property, which includes the Myrtle Avenue property currently being considered for the Habitat for Humanity project.

“We really don’t know what is going to happen at the borough hall site, we could have a park there, we could put single family homes there or senior homes,” he said.