Resident offers update on developable parcel in Upper Freehold Township

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I would like to provide three updates regarding the possible development of the Stein property behind the Valero gas station on North Main Street at the border of Allentown and Upper Freehold Township.

• Despite the signs on the property that are apparently supposed to be whipping us into a frenzy about high-density housing, the lender (Terra Secured Income Fund 5) to the developer (Active Acquisitions Upper Freehold or AAESUF, LLC) has definitely disclosed to its investors in its legal filings to the federal Securities and Exchange Commission that the property is classified as an industrial development. The takeaway? The developer’s signs are dishonest. Neither the community nor our officials should trust them. And bravo to all of us for not falling for it.

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• Brand new state rules on flood hazard mapping should have a dramatic impact on how this property is mapped, permitted, risk evaluated and built on. Flooding mitigation measures such as storm water basins and similar features will now need to be larger. So, all of this will constrain how much industrial development (warehousing) can be shoe-horned onto this property.

• Brand new state guidance on where to site large scale industrial warehouses should certainly preclude the backyards of people who live in Indian Run, of the downtown of Allentown, of the Upper Freehold Scenic Byway, of a site that is outside of a sewer service area (as we are in Upper Freehold), and that is in a designated rural part of the state according to the State Plan (as we are in Upper Freehold).

But this guidance is all voluntary. So now Upper Freehold residents must let our Township Committee members know we want them to adopt the warehouse guidance, stat.

If we wait, there may be an application pending, which means it would not need to meet the guidance. That is not the case now. So our officials need to act first; be the first in the state. That may not be our usual or most comfortable position, but it needs to be now.

Micah Rasmussen
Upper Freehold Township

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