A blog about living in Aberdeen, New Jersey.

Sunday, February 22, 2009

Development vs Conservation in Aberdeen

According to an 18 December 2008 article in the Bayshore Independent, Aberdeen citizens gathered at a meeting of the township's Planning Board on 9 December to express their concern over a plan to meet Council on Affordable Housing (COAH) requirements through development of 62 townhouses near their homes on the northbound side of Route 34 near Lloyd Road. Despite their protestations, the plan was approved and will now be dealt with at the 25 February 2009 Zoning Board of Adjustment meeting.

In all the hubub regarding the Village at Aberdeen portion of the project, no one seems to have raised any concerns over the rezoning of conservation /recreation (CR) lands that will be required to build Renaissance at Aberdeen (red zone on map), a 132 unit affordable housing project on the west side of County Road behind a self-storage facility at Route 35 in Cliffwood. Maybe that issue should be raised on Wednesday?

The NY/NJ Baykeeper filed a cautiously optimistic report (pdf) circa 2005 on Aberdeen's plans to protect environmentally sensitive wetlands, floodplains, and surrounding waterfront lands through the implementation of a special zoning category. The report said, "This action will help guide away from these areas development projects that might have a large impact on the physical environment." Under duress to meet COAH requirements, the township seems to be chipping away at its stance on environmental protection by diverting lands to development that had been set aside. Worried about who their neighbors might turn out to be, township citizens as well seem to have missed the ball on waterfront preservation. Too bad, since so much of the township is seashore, lakes, and creeks.

Once this inevitable rezoning takes place, maybe Aberdeen can divert some commercial lands to CR status and in such a way protect an equivalent parcel of land from development? A September 2008 draft (pdf) of the NJ Coastal and Estuarine Land Conservation Program Plan (CELCP), which discusses conservation and recreational lands and programs that can help avoid their diversion to other uses, might be a place to start for some ideas on how to proceed?


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