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Meetings With Foodtown Site Developer Planned

Fozman: committee will meet with M&M chief

A township council redevelopment committee will meet with the principal of M&M Realty Partners to discuss the future of the Route 70 site, Councilman Jim Fozman said this week.

"We're setting up another meeting with the redeveloper," when he returns form vacation, Fozman said.

Last month, M&M representatives requested the council change the site's redevelopment plan – which currently calls for a hotel and banquet facility to be built at the site – to allow 192 condominium units, commercial space and about 70 rental units, depending on the complex's overall size.

The proposal has been met with public criticism.

Fozman discussed the matter in response to a question posed by resident John Zingis during the public comment portion of Tuesday's council meeting. Zingis said he was upset that the process of choosing a plan for the site had not been more open to the public.

"The committee has to agree first on what's going to happen and how we're going to go forward on this," said Fozman.

"That's unfortunate," Zingis replied. "I understand your issues with respect to having some closed door meetings, but the minute that door is open, this entire community has a right to know."

"I think the developer really struck a nerve coming in here at the last minute with all these condos," Zingis continued. "I, for one, do not want to see condos in this town, no more. 192 on Route 70 is disgusting. It takes three traffic signals to get through the center of town."

"If you put a hotel, restaurant there, a bank, you're going to go through the same process," said Fozman.

Dawn White, another resident, asked that the council meet with the Citizens' Redevelopment Committee to discuss the matter.

"There is an environmental consultant, there is an engineer, there is someone who has dealt in the planning board and land use meetings for the last 12 years and has sat through hundreds and hundreds of meeting through the approval process," on the committee, she said. "None of you have contacted the chair to sit with any of us, and I don't understand that."

Fozman said he would meet with the committee.

The future of the site remains, ultimately, in the hands of the township council.

"No matter what the procedures are that are laid out in [the redevelopment] agreement, the redevelopment plan is adopted by ordinance and it cannot be changed in the absence of an ordinance," said township attorney Jean Cipriani.

The allow for condominiums to be built at the site, the council would have to approve a revised ordinance on first reading allowing the change from the hotel plan, then hold a public hearing and second vote.

"We're ready, willing and able to do what the council designs this site to do," said Mayor Stephen C. Acropolis. "I … thought we had a plan in place, and now it looks like that plan has changed."

Council President Bob Moore said the future of the site is "not a dead issue" and there will be opportunities for more public input on the tract's future.

Mike M February 23, 2013 at 07:38 PM
There's really not much to make sense of here. It seems that the Council just doesn't want to be bothered by the whole issue of the redevelopment and is just letting M&M do whatever they want or they just want something built there ASAP in order to look good. In any case we need to impressed them that the residents want a seat at the table as redevelopment plans move forward. I, and many other residents, feel that this latest proposal is not in the best interest of current residents. There are ways to create a community asset that provides revenues for the town and active and passive recreation areas for usage of all segments of residents. It just takes some thought and planning. It's an asset for the town, not the Council's or M&M's. Please, anyone who agrees needs to get involved; if you use Facebook pls. join the group "Friends of Forge Pond NJ" in order to stay in the loop. Thank you.
John Zingis March 26, 2013 at 12:55 PM
www.FriendsofForgePondNJ.org are working hard to continue the accumulation of public information and will present new questions to Council. Anyone interested in the development of the site MUST ATTEND the upcoming Council meeting on April 2nd. Additionally, Councilman Fozman requested that anyone with suggestions for the future development of the site should email him or the Citizens Redevelopment Committee. BTW, the Citizens Redevelopment Committee is scheduled to meet at Town Hall this Thursday evening. It's a "closed session", but the public has the right at least to know ther's a meeting. I REALLY would hope the Chairman of the Committee would report to Council so we would get an accurare accounting of the meeting. Please look for us on Facebook too. Friends of Forge Pond - NJ is not against developing the site, but the development must benefit ALL Brick Residents and be done so in an environmentally smart manner. Afterall, this is our last chance to develop this property correctly. PLEASE GET INVOLVED, COME TO MEETINGS AND LET YOUR OPINIONS BE HEARD. Thanks
John Zingis March 26, 2013 at 01:07 PM
Check out this petition. Review it, and if you agree, get involved. http://www.change.org/petitions/the-development-of-proposed-metedeconk-village-at-the-foodtown-site-consider-the-needs-of-the-residents-of-brick As far as I'm concerned Council should act this coming council meeting and put the stake through the heart of the proposed "condo - strip mall" redevelopment idea.
Katherine Lockwood March 26, 2013 at 02:25 PM
Thanks for the updates John, I do hope that more people get involved so that the council truely can feel how pressing of an issue this is for the residents of Brick and so that Mr Fozman can see that this is not what is in the best interest of this town.
John Zingis April 02, 2013 at 02:19 AM
Brick Council meeting tomorrow night - April 2nd at 7pm. The discussion of future condo use at the former Foodtown site will be a much discussed topic. All should attend and join in the discussion. It's OUR TOWN.

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