Long Branch: On Tuesday Planning and Zoning presented “Transit Village Plans” to redevelop and revitalize the business and residential areas around the railroad station up to a radius of ½ mile in all directions. The 26 current Transit Villages cites are part of the state’s Smart Growth programs.
Part of the Long Branch plan calls for removing the barrier that keeps pedestrians from walking along Morris Ave. between Westwood and Third.
The proposed TV area would also include Monmouth Medical Center and homes, professional services and shops to the east and the homes and businesses west of the station. The TV zone would abut, but not replace city Master Plan redevelopment such as the Broadway Arts District.
The study was presented by Maser Consulting’s Dave Roberts and the city’s Carl Turner, Assistant Planning Director, and Michele Bernich, Zoning Officer.
The plan leaves existing businesses and homes as is unless owners decide to make changes. It broadens zone use requirements for existing or future owner’s wishes. It also allows mixed use development- for example a several storied building might have business or professional use at ground level, and apartments above.
The state concept of transit-oriented development includes working with the municipalities. The objective is to develop zones that are pedestrian-friendly neighborhoods for shopping, jobs, recreation, dining and entertainment without a need for vehicular traffic.
The proposal will go forward to develop the paperwork required by the state. A June target date is being used in order to apply for state funding and move the project into design.
If accepted, costs would be borne by NJ Transit, grants and individual interested parties. Standards will be used to provide a direction for future growth and development over time.
Council members were pleased with the concept. Business Administrator Howard Woolley was quite familiar with the State’s program.