TOMS RIVER, NJ – Toms River Mayor Maurice “Mo” Hill called Shore News Network’s coverage of a 10 story building in Downtown Toms River “Fake News” just a few months ago. It turns out, Mayor Hill was right. He’s not building one 10-story tower, but two 10-story towers that will dominate the Toms River skyline and kick off his vision of building a small city full of towers in Downtown Toms River.
You can read more about that here.
Hill and the township officially unveiled the latest incarnation of a downtown redevelopment project that would give Capodaglia Development free township-owned land and a huge tax break in the form of a “Payment in Lieu of Taxes” (PILOT) program that will have the developer paying a fraction of the taxes they would pay without the pilot.
The hope is that the construction of the two 10-story towers will attract more developers to build more towers, bringing more residents to the town, which would then attract commercial, restaurant, and retail opportunities downtown.
In essence, the project is the seed to grow the Toms River Downtown area into a small city. According to Toms River Councilwoman Laurie Huryk, that’s a good thing. Building skyscrapers downtown will allow the town build taller on smaller land footprints, thereby preserving more open space in other parts of the town.
“We’ve been fighting about trying to hold on to our open space and woods and it’s been a real struggle, and this is an opportunity to take up a smaller footprint because they are taller [buildings],” Huryk, who once criticized the township for its ethnic makeup. “It’s having the effect of helping us preserve more open space.”
To put residents’ minds at ease, the township says not more than 10% of all the buildings can be more than 10 stories buildings in the redevelopment plan that kicks off with 100% of the buildings being more than 10 stories tall.
“You can never have all 10 story buildings,” the township planner Dave Roberts said.
The township also announced that in the 10 story towers, 15% of the units will be deed-restricted affordable housing units out of the current 285 units now being proposed.
Initially, the first project to be built will be a 285 unit building to be built by Capodaglia Properties. That number is down officially from 500 residential units in Mayor Hill’s original plan.
“It will be a hi-rise with an elevator, not family-friendly, we’re expecting singles,” Roberts told the residents.
Democrat Councilman Terrance Turnbach who has applauded the project since its inception says it will change the face of downtown Toms River forever.
“This is a project that could change the face of our downtown,” project supporter Terrance Turnbach said of the new development.
Toms River Democrat Lauri Huryk applauded the 10 story buildings downtown saying that if the project wasn’t built so tall downtown, those units would be spread out in other parts of the township.
Residents who spoke at the meeting last Tuesday mostly opposed the mayor and council’s plan to turn Downtown Toms River into a city, citing traffic concerns, parking issues, costs, educational expenses and quality of living concerns regarding the proposed mammoth project.