WEINBERG GETS OK FOR ESTATE CARVE-UP

max1Max Weinberg at Middletown’s planning board hearing Wednesday night. (Photo by Stacie Fanelli. Click to enlarge)

By DUSTIN RACIOPPI

Turns out you can break the ties that bind.

E-Street Band drummer Max Weinberg barely persuaded an apprehensive Middletown planning board Wednesday to lift a deed restriction it had imposed eight years ago to prevent him from further subdividing his 16.2-acre Navesink estate.

Using words like ‘hardship’ and ‘discrimination,’ Weinberg’s team of legal and planning experts argued that the deed restriction, which Weinberg agreed to at the time, had stuck him and his family with an unfair burden.

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RESIDENTS READY TO FIRE BACK AT AVAYA

four-ponds1Four Ponds architect Ned Gaunt gave the first look at color drawings of the proposed homes at the former Avaya property in Lincroft. Below, an opponent of the plan in a t-shirt worn by many in the audience. (Photos by Stacie Fanellii. Click to enlarge)

By DUSTIN RACIOPPI

four-ponds-opponentAs a development company’s team of professionals continued to lobby for approval by Middletown’s planning board of a major residential community in Lincroft, opponents of the plan anxiously waited their turn Wednesday night.

That time is still weeks away, as testimony on the proposed redevelopment of the former Avaya property continued with more traffic study findings and the introduction of the 342-unit housing plan’s schematics that were met with familiar boos in a crowded meeting room.

Waiting patiently for their turn on the floor, three residents who’ve hired an attorney to counter the studies and findings by representatives of Four Ponds Associates sat listening to details of the unfolding plan to convert the 68-acre property from commercial to residential use.

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WEINBERG DRUMS FOR NEW SUBDIVISION

weinberg-drivewayThe entrance to E Street Band drummer Max Weinberg’s estate on McClees Road in Middletown. Below, Weinberg at this week’s planning board hearing. (Photos by Dustin Racioppi; click to enlarge)

By DUSTIN RACIOPPI

max-weinberg2Eight years after getting his knuckles rapped by Middletown’s foremost land conservationist over a plan to subdivide his estate, drummer Max Weinberg was back before township officials this week, asking for an OK to further slice up land that they once said should never be split again.

The timekeeper for Bruce Springsteen and the E Street Band and former Conan O’Brien sidekick is hoping to subdivide the 16.2-acre parcel on which his home sits so he can sell nearly half for development.

So Weinberg returned to the planning board Wednesday for a bit of déjà vu, asking the board to lift a deed restriction placed on his McClees Road property in 2003, when he and his wife, Becky, subdivided their 37-acre property into four lots.

“Times change. Economics change. Conan’s come and gone,” said his attorney, Michael Steib. “One of the decisions is to market this property. And they’ve learned a 16.2-acre parcel of property is hard to market.”

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STUDY: AVAYA TRAFFIC WON’T BE THAT BAD

avaya-t-shirtFour Ponds development opponents were well-represented at Wednesday’s planning board meeting. (Photo by Dustin Racioppi; click to enlarge)

By DUSTIN RACIOPPI

Even in a worst-case scenario, traffic in and out of the proposed Four Ponds development in Lincroft won’t have as big an impact on the area as neighbors fear, according to a traffic study presented to the Middletown Planning Board Wednesday night.

The 342-unit development, if approved, would be better— traffic-wise — for the town than a return to professional use of the 68-acre property on Middletown-Lincroft Road, said traffic consultant John Rea, of McDonough & Rea Associates in Manasquan. The site is the former home of business technology giant Avaya, where a vacant 352,000-square-foot building once housed a bustling tech industry until it was closed a few years ago.

“It has been used in the past, and it has generated higher traffic volumes than what is proposed today,” he said.

Members of the board, though, pushed back against a number of statistics Rea offered, saying traffic in that section of town can slow to a crawl and prompts travelers to seek shortcuts.

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DEAL ALLOWS 190 UNITS AT BAMM HOLLOW

bamm-hollow-signMiddletown reached a settlement with Bamm Hollow Country Club last week, effectively ending years of litigation. (Photo by Dustin Racioppi; click to enlarge)

By DUSTIN RACIOPPI

Nearly 200 homes may be built on the property of Bamm Hollow Country Club as a result of an affordable housing lawsuit settlement between the town and the country club.

Officials say the deal was the best option for the town. Neighbors say it will crush the area’s quality of life.

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CONTROVERSIAL AVAYA HEARING TONIGHT

avaya1Residents and Middletown officials are strongly opposed to a 342-unit housing plan at the former Avaya property in Lincroft. (Photo by Dustin Racioppi; click to enlarge)

By DUSTIN RACIOPPI

Middletown’s planning board will meet Wednesday to hear a proposal that’s got neighbors up in arms and township officials grinding their teeth.

The proposed project, submitted by Four Ponds Associates, calls for the demolition of a large office building vacated by telecom giant Avaya and the construction of 342 residential units on 68  acres on Middletown-Lincroft Road.

For locals, the prospect of adding hundreds of homes to the tract is an unwelcome one, as traffic and safety top the concerns, not to mention a serious disruption to the Lincroft section’s quality of life, they say.

For township officials, the proposal represents “archaic and ridiculous” affordable housing laws imposed by the state. But until changes are made in Trenton, they’re handcuffed, they say.

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