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Long Branch Creates Transit Village Designation For Area Around Train Station

Zoning change will allow city to improve area

The Long Branch Council has approved a zoning change for the area around the Long Branch Train Station on Third Avenue.

The area will know be known as a Transit Village and will extend a quarter-mile to the east and west of train station.

A Transit Village is a mix of residential and retail units planned around a train station which strives to make it more convenient for people to get to and from work or run errands by utilizing public transportation.

Planning Consultant Dave Roberts has said the area immediately surrounding the train station would encourage higher density residential development, and a mix of uses including hotels, supermarkets and parking structures. He said many of the areas around the train station currently only allow single-family developments, but that would change under a Transit Village designation.

Areas located inside the Transit Village further east and west from the train station can feature more residential uses and a smaller amount of commercial development.

Resident Diana Multaire asked the council if eminent domain, the power to take private property for public use, would be used to develop the area inside the Transit Village.

"We are absolutely not considering any use of eminent domain," Mayor Adam Schneider said.

Roberts said the city is now eligible to receive funds from the Department of Transportation (DOT) since it has made the Transit Village designation.

The DOT established the Transit Village Initiative in 1999 and it allows towns which have created one to get assistance and apply for grants for projects associated with improving the area.

"We have a project in mind for what could be done with that money and that is the critical (pedestrian) connection of the west side and the entrance of the train station," Robert has said. "We've heard from NJ Transit that they are willing o to work with us but are not willing to commit the funds (for this project)."

"It automatically makes the properties on the west side of the tracks more attractive to developers because they could market that as a pedestrian-accessible to their tenants," Roberts has said.

Roberts said there is currently a wall separating Morris Avenue from crossing the train tracks and that the plan would be to "penetrate" it and create pedestrian access.

Long Branch Assistant Planning Director Carl Turner has said that could be accomplished by building a walkway at, above or below the street level.

SCOTT DILLEY May 15, 2013 at 12:23 PM
WHAT ABOUT DOWNTOWN?? 4 CORNERS? THE EYE SORE TO PIER VILLAGE?? ALSO WHY NOT PUT IN A TRAIN STOP IN WEST END??? THAT WOULD ENCOURAGE MORE RIDERS....
Donna C. May 15, 2013 at 12:56 PM
Everything Scott said. PLUS where are they going to put these things? The Hospital and the Ronald McDonald House are right across the street, The Schools are right behind it... I hope this isn't going to turn into a huge mess.
DJGigs May 15, 2013 at 01:08 PM
The big question everyone should be asking is what does this mean for the zone? What can they make you do know that its been given this new designation? I think we have just seen a new way for LB Gov to over step its boundries
DJGigs May 15, 2013 at 01:13 PM
I mean NOW , sorry typo
Lou May 15, 2013 at 01:16 PM
The "Long Branch City Council approved the re zoning" etc. I do not understand why approval of the West End Synagogue does not need their approval. Does anyone know the reason?
DJGigs May 15, 2013 at 01:19 PM
It has not been approved , but you are right they are still operating illegally . only those in the Bowls of LB will know that but touché Lou
Nina Parrilla May 15, 2013 at 01:39 PM
Oh god another cluster of " luxury" residences taking over our city? I hope not! Enough is enough with the gentrification. This city is slowly eliminating the middle and working class. We need more affordable housing not million dollar condos.
Nina Parrilla May 15, 2013 at 01:41 PM
And trust me the homes in that area will be stolen and knocked down to make way for phase 2 of killing our community.
John Mathias May 15, 2013 at 01:51 PM
I think we have a LONG way to go before there is any actual gentrification in Long Branch. Sure, Pier Village is a silly faux fancy condo village but the actual city is in dire need of some sprucing up. There seems to be plenty of affordable housing what we need are more businesses that can turn a profit (not just dollar stores and fast food). Why can't anyone seem to keep a diner across from a train station open? When people make a night time connection to a Bayhead train they sometimes have to wait a full hour on the platform. There's nothing open.
Jerome Clemenceau May 15, 2013 at 05:33 PM
High rises would benefit and it would make the city look more like a city. Can you imagine 3 or 4 high rises in Long Branch that are not located on the beach! The high rises would indeed make that area (transit area) denser.
Tex May 15, 2013 at 05:42 PM
Nina, Everything in this country is done for the wealthy at the expense of the middle class and poor. Cheap credit is only available for the large corporations and the wealthy. Small business people are told they can't qualify or their business plan is too risky. The federal reserve keeps interest rates low so the poor and middle class and seniors can't get any return on their savings account but the banks use that money to drive stock prices up day after day while the economy gets weaker and the poor lose their jobs. Obama has only made things worse. Wait until Obamacare really kicks in. Unemployment will skyrocket.
DJGigs May 15, 2013 at 06:21 PM
Jerome, They cannot even fill up the one on the ocean front, What makes you think those High rises would be cheap to live in?
Peter Koenig May 15, 2013 at 07:59 PM
"many of the areas around the train station currently only allow single-family developments," In other words, single-family homes (and homeowners) are the enemy. This proposal would foster demolition of single-family homes and their replacement by high-density multi-family housing. One wishes in vain that the City government would do something to aid single-family homeowners, instead of conniving ways to run us out of town. Note also that high-density housing places additional financial strain on our schools by reducing ratables-per-pupil, unlike commercial development which does not add to the school population. Finally, how much money will this actually garner from the State? This is about far more than a mere pedestrian connection to the west of the station. Is it worth the long-term costs of higher population density, and the increased pressure on already hard-pressed single-family homeowners?
Judy Riggenbach May 15, 2013 at 09:29 PM
There are plenty of multi family dwellings around the area they are proposing to change. The problem is this change will make access to the hospital even more difficult and will make the area around the school even less safe than it is now. What a stupid unthought out plan!
Kathy A May 16, 2013 at 11:26 AM
When they BUILT the new train station if they had kept Morris Avenue open, they wouldn't be in this situation now. It also allowed another route to the beachfront and eliminated some of the traffic on Broadway. It also allowed easier access to the hospital for ambulances. Closing Morris Ave was a stupid idea from the beginning.
Peter Koenig May 16, 2013 at 05:06 PM
Quick look at the zoning map - feel free to check it out yourself; it's hard to read - seems to show the area immediately around the station was C-3 Neighborhood Commercial (businesses, 2.5 stories / 30' height), but it was bordered on the South, West and East by R-4 Single-Family Residential. MMC area is "M" zone ("hospitals specifically) and S-1 Professional Offices. Thus, multiple dwellings are probably prior non-confirming uses, and high-rise high-density residential seems to have been prohibited. Anyway, my point was this change is much more than a minor tweak to syphon a few bucks from a State program. It's another challenge to single-family homeowners. Perhaps there's a silver lining, though. If this is the "Transit Village" then maybe we won't have to pay for the laughable ferry pier project. Or maybe they'll dig a canal from the ocean to the train station. Look what the Erie Canal did for NYC ... just 180 years ago ... we could use mules to pull the barges ... note to self: buy local mule stable cheap, before word gets out ...
jim leyritz May 17, 2013 at 09:38 AM
Whats with all of the complaining? Most of the comments here paint this area to be some sort of shang-ri-la. News Flash, it's not. Not to mention that there was a MURDER around the block last month. I for one, as someone who both lives in the immediate area as well as takes the train 5 days a week, welcome ANY improvement to the area. Improvement being the key word.
Peter Koenig May 17, 2013 at 04:27 PM
Shangri-La it isn't; Shangri-La is nowhere.. The question is how to improve our town. Shall we aid and support its current residents - particularly, single-family homeowners - or will they be redeveloped into oblivion? Here, the (very modest, I think) State funding assistance is tied to changes in zoning to promote demolition of existing homes and replacement by high-density housing. Since Shangri-La was mentioned, may I say (without rancor) it's also a philosophical question: is Long Branch so "bad" that improvement can only come through demolition and dispossession? Lost Horizon? Lost self-respect, I fear.
Andre Wojciechowo October 21, 2013 at 08:13 PM
To all of people complaining about million dollars townhouses, I'm one of those who bought one in Long Branch. Keep in mind that we are mostly part time residents there, we don't send our kids to schools there, we are not much the problem makers, but we paying for small townhouse or condo much more in taxes then 4 family rental house or any other one in the City. So if you not happy how your part of city looks like maybe good idea is if you paint your house and cut the grass. You can make it nice, you can do it.
Lou October 22, 2013 at 07:04 AM
To Andre W. My house is been own by my family since 1960. No one in my family has ever use the schools, the beach, and definitely not the library. But I want to respond about taking care of your property only. In my section of town, Elberon, the houses around me are being bought for speculation. They are own by absentee landlords who do not take care of their properties. The house behind me and next to me are own by corporations located in Brooklyn. When I write letters asking for them to do their share in trimming their bushes and trees along property lines I get no answer. I use to have a garden, but know i have a jungle of vines. One is vacant and one is a section 8. I could go on but the answer is not paint.
Andre Wojciechowo October 22, 2013 at 09:07 AM
To Lou. Not going to schools and library, one maybe could keep as Family secret. Just kidding. Thank you for understanding that people who buy condos and townhouses are solution not problem to the rest of the town . Please try the beach next season, or even off the season.

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