Toms River Council Approves 6-Story Apartment Building With 285 Apartments

The Toms River Township Council voted in favor of an amendment to the town’s contentious redevelopment agreement that will reduce the originally proposed two 10-story towers to a six-story apartment building located downtown.

The revised project will still consist of 285 apartments, including 43 units that fulfill Toms River’s affordable housing requirements. Parking arrangements will remain unchanged, along with plans for a small amphitheater and a boardwalk area along the river.

The council’s decision, with a vote of 5-2, was met with dissent from councilmen Dan Rodrick and Justin Lamb, who expressed their opposition by requesting to table the resolution.

During the June Republican mayoral primary, the project emerged as a central issue, resulting in Rodrick’s landslide victory over incumbent Mayor Mo Hill. With the upcoming November election, where Rodrick is favored to win against Democrat John Furey, he made it clear on Wednesday night that he intends to block the redevelopment project if elected mayor.

The newly approved amendment extends the deadlines for the developer to obtain necessary government approvals and secure financing for the project. Rodrick raised concerns regarding these aspects and repeatedly pressed Frances Ciesla McManimon, the township’s redevelopment attorney, on the status of the developer’s financing.

The original proposal had already received all necessary approvals, including Coastal Area Facilities Review Act approval from the state Department of Environmental Protection. However, the reduction in height to six stories necessitated a revisit to the planning board.

Rodrick expressed his dissatisfaction with the amendment, questioning the need to revise the agreement instead of terminating it if the developer failed to secure financing within the allotted time. He referenced comments made by Mayor Hill in an Asbury Park Press report, which attributed the downsizing of the project to increased construction costs resulting from inflation.

Geri Ambrosio, who also participated in the mayoral primary against Hill, criticized the council for failing to inform residents about the proposed changes until Hill announced them during a mayoral debate in May. Ambrosio questioned why the public was not notified sooner despite regular council meetings.

Following the council’s rejection of a second motion to table the resolution, Rodrick reiterated his suspicion that some people stood to benefit from extending the project’s deadlines. He suggested the possibility of conflicts of interest among those who voted in favor and vowed to explore alternative courses of action.

In response, Council President Matthew Lotano offered to involve the prosecutor’s office to investigate the alleged kickbacks. Lotano challenged Rodrick to publicly apologize once the investigation concluded, but Rodrick refused.

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  1. This isn’t New York City! The traffic there is already horrendous! I cannot believe this got approved. There are like, a billion and one reasons why this an absolutely poor idea.


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