New uses approved in Freehold Borough’s downtown district


FREEHOLD – Municipal officials have amended Freehold Borough’s redevelopment plan and will permit motor vehicle repair garages, auto body repairs and painting, and tire sales in a section of the downtown district.

On March 4, Borough Council members adopted an ordinance amending the Freehold Center Core Redevelopment Plan. They said the goal is to encourage new development in the downtown.

The targeted area is designated as the Freehold Center Core Redevelopment Zone and projects in the zone must be compliant with the core redevelopment plan. The council is designated as the redevelopment entity for the plan and is responsible for any action involving the plan.

The ordinance will amend the core redevelopment plan to permit motor vehicle repair garages, auto body repairs and painting, and tire sales if certain conditions are met. The conditions refer to setbacks, building height, work spaces, vehicle storage and other conditions.

Concerns about the new uses were raised by representatives of Downtown Freehold, which manages the downtown area, regarding the possible creation of a negative visual impact from vehicles in need of repair.

In response, Councilman George Schnurr and Councilwoman Sharon Shutzer emphasized that vehicles in need of repair would be shielded from public view.

“A fence will shield whatever is back there,” Schnurr said. “Cars in need of repair will be in the fenced area.”

Borough Attorney Kerry Higgins said any repair work on a vehicle must be completed inside a building.

Other than the concerns they expressed about the storage of vehicles, the representatives of Downtown Freehold said they considered the new permitted uses to be additional ways to revitalize the downtown district.

Council President Kevin Kane, Councilman Michael DiBenedetto, Councilwoman Annette Jordan, Councilwoman Margaret Rogers, Shutzer and Schnurr voted to adopt the amendment to the core redevelopment plan.