Holmdel NJ approves 50 affordable apartments near Hazlet boundary

HOLMDEL — City planning council has unanimously approved plans for a three-building apartment complex with 50 affordable units at 625 South Laurel Ave.

The development, dubbed the Holmdel Family Apartments, will be built and managed by Walters Group, a Barnegat-based developer. The complex is part of the Township’s 2019 Affordable Housing Settlement Agreement with the Fair Share Housing Center.

Because the resort is right along the municipal border with Hazlet, Hazlet sued Holmdel three times from August 2020 to stop construction of the affordable housing complex. Last August, Holmdel reached a settlement agreement with Hazlet.

At Tuesday’s board meeting, the developer presented and accepted plans that would move the complex 200 feet from the municipal border and maintain a buffer zone of trees and plants between the apartment complex and the backyards of the houses of the inhabitants of Hazlet.

The Walters Group showcases plans for an apartment complex with affordable housing Tuesday, May 3, 2022 at City Hall in Holmdel, New Jersey.

“I don’t want to see dead trees and the loss of stamps for Hazlet residents,” said board member Joyce Ploussas. “I want it to be maintained.”

Board member William Kastning asked about contaminants found at the site during soil testing.

“There were contaminants associated with prior use that were found and corrected and removed,” said Damien Del Duca, attorney for the developer.

The new plan would eliminate one of the access roads to the site so that there is only one road leading in and out of the complex from Middle Road.

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Renderings for a proposed development of 50 affordable housing units.

Council planner Jen Beahm expressed concern that having only one entrance and exit could impede emergency services in the event of a road blockage.

The developer agreed to add a bollard at the single entrance and exit that would split the road in two, reducing the possibility of a completely blocked road. He also agreed to move two trees to allow emergency vehicles to enter the complex from the South Laurel Avenue side through the grass. He also pledged to plant trees with a minimum canopy of 12 feet around the parking lot to prevent branches from getting in the way of ambulances.

Edmond Speitel Jr., the developer’s vice president of development, said that in addition to apartments, the complex will house an indoor gym, computer lab and outdoor playground. Garbage will be picked up twice a week.

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Site plans for a proposed development of 50 affordable housing units.

In response to a question from Kastning, Speitel said the developers would accept residents who do not have a car and said there was a bus stop less than half a mile from the development. The nearest bus stop is one mile north at the intersection of Route 36 and South Laurel Avenue. Bus 817 from Perth Amboy to Middletown passes through stop 24642.

Del Duca said Walters Group has applied to the New Jersey Housing and Mortgage Finance Agency “to make this community a reality…for tax credit financing.”

Site plans for a proposed development of 50 affordable housing units.

He said the the promoter applied in collaboration with the canton and “was able to obtain a sufficient score to obtain the tax credit” at the end of 2020.

He said that, as a condition of receiving the tax credit, the developer must complete construction and “obtain our first certificate of occupancy” by the end of 2023.

“It’s been a long process,” Del Duca said. “We are very excited to begin work so that we can put this community into operation, meet our obligations and help Holmdel meet its obligations.”

Olivia Liu is a journalist covering transport, Red Bank and West Monmouth County. She can be contacted at oliu@gannett.com.

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