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Developer Has New Plan For Old Orchard Country Club

A public hearing a on master plan change for the property is scheduled for Dec. 9.

By Christopher Sheldon

A developer has its eyes on a new plan for Old Orchard Country Club as its previous attempt was stopped by the Eatontown Zoning Board of Adjustment.

Eatontown Ventures LLC sent a letter to Eatontown Mayor Gerald Tarantolo and 1,000 residents in the immediate neighborhood of Old Orchard Country Club describing the plan and their support for an amendment to the Eatontown Master Plan.

The board will consider an amendment to the Eatontown Master Plan during its Dec. 9 meeting that would preserve 75 acres of the property would set aside for open space and the other 60 acres that fronts Route 36 would be zoned for non-residential development.

The amendment plan was presented at the Nov. 25 Eatontown Planning Board and by a 4-3 vote, it was carried to the Dec. 9 meeting. You can view the plan amendment in its entirety by clicking here.

The letter states that, "The owners of Old Orchard Country Club support the amendment and have entered into a contract to allow the developer, Eatontown Ventures LLC, to obtain approvals for a shopping center south of Turtle Mill Brook and a dedication of the property to the north as open space all in accordance with the proposed amendment to the master plan presently before the Planning Board."

Eatontown Ventures' previous request to rezone the property was denied by the planning board, but the letter states the new plan is different.

"Instead of building 175 units of active adult homes on the rear portion of the site, 80 acres of open space will be preserved," the letter states. "The property owner and the developer have agreed to deed restrict the 65 acres north of Turtle Mill Brook so that no development can ever take place on them."

The funding for the amendment plan, which was prepared by Borough Planner Richard Kramer was questioned during the Dec. 4 Eatontown Council meeting.

"(The Eatontown Planning Board) has no money, they have to come to us to get the money," Eatontown Councilman Dennis Connelly said.

Connelly said the board should not have had Kramer prepare the $10,000 study without first receiving the OK from the council for a transfer of money to fund it.

Councilman Anthony Talerico agreed with Connelly.

"It is normal to transfer funds, that is a normal procedure," Talerico said. "It is not normal or customary to transfer funds this way."

During the Oct. 28 Eatontown Planning Board meeting, Tarantolo said the money is available.

"Our Chief Financial Officer indicated that the money is there," he said.

Connelly said it was "very deceiving" that Tarantolo answered the question in that way and that he did not indicate that a transfer would be needed.

Tarantolo said the borough has not yet received a bill for the work, so no transfer could take place at this time.

Borough Attorney Gene Anthony said the planning board does have the authority to make a decision such as this on its own and that the council "is responsible to fund the board appropriately."

Members of the public argued against the move at the council meeting and many said they did not want anything at the site at all. 
John December 06, 2013 at 01:21 PM
More back door politics initiated by the clown Tarantolo. All he does is make decisions based on what he wants and thinks is good...We don't need anymore shopping centers and retail spaces. There are already 30% vacancies throughout the borough. And the consumer center in WLB across 36 from this new strip mall is half empty....when will this guy get it? Can't wait until Jan 1st when the republicans take over and Tarantolo pipes down and has no say again
John December 06, 2013 at 01:23 PM
Tarantolo gives companies a 5 year tax abatement ....and after those 5 years, they pack up and go elsewhere....and we all stuck with empty buildings ...what a clown
Tex December 06, 2013 at 09:27 PM
Bye bye Old Torture. I'll miss the island green.
Council President Anthony Talerico, Jr. December 09, 2013 at 05:05 PM
John- I respect your right to disagree, but wanted to briefly respond to one item you mentioned: commercial abatements. The Borough currently does not have a program for abatements for commercial property and I have never heard of one in the past. There is a program for certain qualifying residential property (which was recently discussed at a Council meeting). That being said, even if there were a program in the past, no one elected official under our form of government has the authority to offer it and bind the Borough in any such agreement. If you would like to discuss more, please email me at atalerico@eatontownnj.com I would be happy to discuss or meet. Also, I would be more than happy to place this topic on the agenda of any Council meeting. Thank you for your comments. Anthony Talerico, Jr. Council President, Borough of Eatontown
Tara Smith December 11, 2013 at 03:22 PM
Very glad to see councilmen Connolly and Talerico question the authorization $10K for an amendment that no one asked for. Now that the amendment was voted down, its $10K thrown out the window. Maybe the $10K should come out of the Mayor's pocket for rushing it without the proper vetting.

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