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Aberdeen Introduces Updated Train Station Redevelopment Ordinance

There will be a public hearing on the ordinance at the council's July 17 meeting

The Aberdeen Township Council recently introduced local legislation rehashing a redevelopment plan concerning over 60 acres of land surrounding the .

The History

Thirteen years ago Aberdeen adopted a resolution requesting the Township Planning Board to conduct a preliminary investigation into whether or not 59.47 acres of land surrounding the Aberdeen Matawan Train Station were in need of redevelopment.

In August of 1999, the planning board adopted a resolution recommending that the land be designated for redevelopment, and a few days later the township council officially voted to make the land a redevelopment area.

A developer received approval in 2001 to move forward with building a luxury apartment complex, now known as Avalon at Aberdeen. During the application process, it was determined that an additional 3.34 acres was necessary to improve vehicle access to the complex. In March 2001, the planning board added these additional acres to the redevelopment area for a total of 62.81 acres.

The project remained stagnant for several years. On Feb. 15, 2012, the Aberdeen Planning Board which reaffirmed that the property still conformed to redevelopment laws and was an area that the township should address.

In April 2012, the council adopted a resolution approving the planning board's "Supplemental & Updated Preliminary Investigation Report" and asked the board to create a redevelopment plan ordinance for the 62.81 acres of land by the train station.

The Redevelopment Plan

The redevelopment ordinance introduced by the Aberdeen Township Council last week is an updated version of older legislation and serves to correct any information that changed throughout the years, such as block numbers or property owners, and updated it with the 2010 affordable housing agreement, according to Township Manager Holly Reycraft. It also lays out a very detailed vision of how the governing body wants the property to be developed.

According to the ordinance, "The site offers an excellent opportunity to redevelop an abandoned industrial site by creating apartment and retail stores in proximity to the Aberdeen-Matawan Train Station."

The 62.81 acres proposed for redevelopment is broken into three sections. Section I, located at the northern portion of the property, is already developed as the Avalon Bay luxury apartments and accounts for about 16.81 acres. Section II, located immediately south of Avalon but north of the railroad right-of-way, accounts for about 13.53 acres. The ordinance stipulates that section II will be made into apartment units and retail stores. Section III is the largest area, comprising about 32.47 acres of land with the majority of the lands owned by either Aberdeen Township or NJ Transit. According to the ordinance this area, "will require a redeveloper to devise a redevelopment plan satisfactory to NJ Transit and Aberdeen Township and to acquire contractual rights to redevelop the land."

The ordinance outlines the ratio of market-rate and affordable housing units, the square footage of retail space and the amount of parking to be built in Section II. There are to be three and four story buildings containing a total of 209 market-rate residential units, 23 affordable housing units, 361 residential parking spaces including 12 garage spaces, 8,000 square feet of commerical property, and 23 retail specific parking spaces.

Section II, dubbed "Chase Signature at Aberdeen Station," according to the ordinance, will be developed in two phases. The township also expresses in the ordinance that they want the property developed by one firm.

Phase I will focus on the property closest to Atlantic Avenue and includes three buildings, each three stories tall. The buildings will house 116 market-rate apartments, 7 affordable housing apartments, 212 residential parking spaces, 8,000 square feet of retail space, and 23 retail parking spaces.

Phase II of Section II will involve building two four-story residential buildings with a total of 93 market rate apartments and 16 affordable housing apartments. Including the twelve garage spaces, 164 parking spaces will be built.

The governing body also detailed their vision for the retail property, which they imagine will include retail goods and services, office space, restaurants but no drive-throughs, and outdoor amenities and seating areas associated with the retail, restaurant and office uses.

Architecturally, the exterior of all buildings must be "compatible" and all outdoor amenities and seating areas must have landscaping and hardscaping to improve the street scape along Atlantic Avenue.

They also envision public parks, conservation areas, and recreational facilities such as a clubhouse area and a swimming pool. The legislation specifies that ten percent of the overall acreage must be set aside for open space, although some areas of open space are permitted to be restricted to Chase Signature residents only.

The Next Step

The ordinance was only introduced at the council's June 19 meeting. There will be a public hearing followed by a vote on the ordinance at the council's July 17 meeting at .

According to Reycraft, passing the ordinance allows the township and the redeveloper to move forward with the planning process, she said.

The next step will be for the redeveloper to create a more detailed and specific site plan and apply for approval from the planning board.

Other Areas Designated for Redevelopment

The land surrounding the Aberdeen-Matawan Train Station is just one area that is designated for redevelopment in the area.

Developers are also in various stages of working on Township lands to construct a , affordable housing on County Road and Route 35, and a on the site of the old Anchor Glass Factory.

JosephGhabourLaw June 26, 2012 at 03:44 PM
Offroad, separate, bicycle-pedestrian paths can increase property values by up to $8,800. So, to benefit children, healthy minded people and taxpayers (with higher taxes revenue from more expensive homes), will there be multi-use paths here? http://128.175.63.72/projects/DOCUMENTS/bikepathfinal.pdf
Aberdeen Guy June 26, 2012 at 03:44 PM
Nice to finally see some movement on these projects. Our train station is currently such an eye sore.
debra June 26, 2012 at 04:01 PM
right up the street on the opposite end of Atlantic ave are townhomes that sit empty and not finished. you have an empty 7-11 you have a whole strip mall of stores empty right across from the train station. so many empty spaces around,dont see it happening. housing brings more kids more teachers, more schools built raise the taxes.
Aberdeen Reality June 26, 2012 at 04:29 PM
I hate to be so pessimistic, but this was first approved 13 years ago and just sat there. The same players are still running the show, what's changed? My prediction, along with anyone who's lived here long enough, is hundreds of thousands of dollars will be paid to "someone" for further studies/ analysis etc, in enough time for some $ to be kicked back in campaign contributions to fund the next election. This is how things work in Aberdeen. Money is spent, nothing gets done.
JosephGhabourLaw June 26, 2012 at 06:37 PM
Has the town tried to get in on New Jersey's Urban Transit Hub Tax Credit program? http://www.njspotlight.com/stories/11/1212/0148/

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