Open space devastation policies continue in Manalapan. Wasn’t it enough to give the green light to devastate 125 acres of open space for the proposed Manalapan Crossing on Route 33 for an adult community and leased commercial spaces with more than 1,000 parking spaces?
The Monmouth County Planning Board gave initial approval to devastate an additional 87 acres of open space on Route 33 East, across from an adult community, Four Seasons.
The Manalapan Planning Board has started the public hearing process. This proposed development would facilitate two buildings totaling 616,125 square feet, of which 28,000 square feet is office space, including 343 parking spaces and 100-plus loading spaces for tractor-trailers, etc.
The Planning Board and the Township Committee should have changed the permitted use in the zone in which this new 87-acre commercial development is supposed to occur.
Residential development would have been better than more commercial development; residential units spread out on 6 acres or more, not typical close-density units. Or, better yet, leverage municipal, county and state funds to preserve open space.
As some studies indicate, where there is more commercial development, the propensity for higher taxes for local residents occurs. But the reverse is almost always pronounced. New Jersey’s overdevelopment has a lot to do with having the highest property taxes in the nation, notwithstanding other influences.
Overdevelopment bears major costs and unfortunately too often those costs are borne by individuals, families and households to support the false notion that commercial development creates more value for the community.
All government levels should stop this trend of more land devastation, increased traffic and environmental degradation. Quality of life issues should be the highest priority.
Deborah K. Smarth