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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.

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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