A Toms River council member said Tuesday he plans to do his best to deliver on a campaign promise to limit what many see as overdevelopment in the township.
Councilman Daniel Rodrick, one of three newly-elected Democrats who took their seats last month, said he initially supported a full-on building moratorium that was proposed by a Republican colleague, however after no action was taken, he came up with a renewed idea to limit construction.
“There are 13 different zoning districts that permit multi-family development,” said Rodrick. “Residents have spoken out on this issue, and they have said it’s time for this to end.”
Rodrick said his proposal is based on a similar zoning policy adopted by Brick Township. Under the administration of Mayor John Ducey, Brick eliminated multi-family housing units from all its residential zones, save for three lots that are approved for mixed-use under a previous agreement with the state. In Brick, construction is underway on one of the plots – behind the township’s post office – and an application before the planning board to build a hotel with residential units and retail died after the venue for its hearing changed from one board to another.
Ducey said the zoning has been met positively in his town.
“It’s been effective thus far,” said Ducey. “It’s worked out great, as no new projects have been proposed.”
Rodrick said high-density development can have a negative effect on the township.
“High density housing pus tremendous stress on schools, services and it increases taxes,” he said. “To keep going down that road would be very damaging to the future of the community.”
Rodrick also said most of the high-density properties receive PILOTs, an acronym for Payment in Lieu of Taxes. Under PILOT programs, the municipality receives a flat annual payment instead of assessing the market value of a property. And the funds are remitted only to the municipal government, leaving the school district without any funding from the ratable.
“I wanted to present a real alternative” to the outright moratorium that he said did not garner support from Republican council members, despite a Republican, Council President George Wittmann, proposing the measure.
“I need their support, and I hope I can count on it, because frankly, residents are very upset about this,” he said, of his GOP colleagues.
Rodrick requested the township attorney draft an ordinance that could be introduced at the council’s next meeting in March.