TOMS RIVER, NJ – A zoning change approved by the township council last week will double the number of homes that can be built on a 50-acre tract of land near the Lakewood border between Cox Cro and Whitesville roads. The new ordinance will also allow for the construction of two “meeting rooms” on open space for public gatherings.
Toms River Mayor Mo Hill signed the ordinance into law after the meeting.
Councilman Daniel T. Rodrick was the only member of the Governing body to vote against the zoning change, which is part of a settlement agreement between Mayor Hill’s administration and property owners Jennette Lipschitz & Hecht Trailers LLC.
Lakewood Investments LLC had a contract to purchase the Hecht portion of the property for $5 million and a $5 million dollar offer in on the Lipschitz portion when in 2017 the council approved a zoning change that reduced the number of units that could be built on the property.
The Lipschitz/Hecht lawsuit alleged that the change devalued their property and that it was inconsistent with the township’s master plan, but the township’s certified planner Dave Roberts disagreed stating, “the zoning was consistent with the master plan.
Rodrick said he believes that Mayor Maurice “Mo” Hill should have fought the lawsuit in court because the settlement allows for the construction of too many units.
“If Mayor Hill and this council cared about overdevelopment, they would have litigated this case. Instead, they’re giving away the farm.” Rodrick said.
Rodrick also chastised Democrats Laurie Huryk and Terrance Turnbach over their approval of the plan.
“Your entire campaign was about fighting overdevelopment, yet you continue to cast votes in favor of more development. You’ve lied to the residents of this great town and you’ve lied to all those who supported your campaigns. Shame on you both,” Rodrick added.
Turnbach replied, “For Councilman Rodrick to say shame on me upsets me to my core.”
Turnbach who has long advocated for a permanent homeless shelter in Toms River then highlighted his work feeding the needy, and his homeless initiatives stating, “Those people may not vote for me, but I don’t do it for the votes. I do it because I care.”
Councilman Rodrick said, “There is no question that Councilman Turnbach works very hard for the homeless, but that doesn’t change the fact that Mr. Turnbach and Ms. Huryk lied to residents when they campaigned against overdevelopment & increasing taxes, and they continue to break their promises to those who did vote for them.”
Democrats Huryk and Turnbach have been voting in lockstep with the Hill administration, approving a 7% tax increase with $11 Million in new spending, and they also support a plan to reduce the acreage requirement for houses of worship with $11 million in new spending, and they also support a plan to reduce the acreage requirement for houses of worship from 10 acres to 2 acres in North Dover and from 10 acres to 7 acres throughout the rest of the township.