Traffic, Relocating Homes Discussed With Proposed Development

The Laurelton Mobile Home Park is potentially the site of a new development. (Photo by Judy Smestad-Nunn)

BRICK – The volume of cars on Route 88 and the logistics of moving mobile homes were discussed as part of testimony for a new commercial development of property currently housing the Laurelton Mobile Home Park located on Route 88 and Jack Martin Blvd.

The second hearing for the application was being held at the most recent Board of Adjustment meeting. JSM (Jack and Sheryl Morris) at Martin Blvd LLC need a use variance and site approval before they could build a Wawa convenience store and gas station, a bank, and a daycare center there. The principal of JSM is Jack Morris, who is also the president and chief executive officer of Edgewood properties, is a well-known developer in Brick who built the Costco shopping center and who will be developing part of the vacant Foodtown site.

(Photo by Judy Smestad-Nunn)

Mobile home parks are allowed in the township under certain circumstances, which includes the pre-existing, age-restricted Laurelton Mobile Home Park.

At one time there were over 100 homes there, but now only about 36 are occupied as residents have either moved or died.

The occupied mobile homes would be allowed to remain onsite, but any of the homes affected by the development would be relocated from the front of the property towards the back, said Ron Aulenbach, Director of Engineering for Edgewood Properties.

“We may have to buy new trailers if they can’t be moved,” said Aulenbach. “That’s the position the owner has taken.”

He said the land, which is a little over 12 acres, is comprised of two parcels: the 9.2 acre mobile home park, purchased by JSM in 2005 from Phillip Baratta, and an adjacent 3-acre site, which was previously a doctor’s office and purchased in 2011.

Michael Gallagher from Maser Consulting is a Wawa consultant and expert in operations of Wawa. He said that some 400 to 700 cars would visit the convenience store and gas station a day, which he said “is not a tremendous amount of traffic.”

This overhead image shows the location of the proposed development. (Photo by Judy Smestad-Nunn)

During public comment, Louis Beato of Lillian Street said he was concerned about runoff from the site. “It’s one big parking lot over there because of Walmart, and in that geographic area the property slopes down. It’s going to create environmental problems once the project is completed,” he said.

Bradford Aller, an engineer specializing in drainage, explained that there would be an onsite pipe system that would lead to several infiltration basins, which takes runoff and allows it to go into the ground.

“We will satisfy all the DEP rules and requirements,” he said.

Another expert hired by JSM was Gary Dean, a consulting engineer who presented a traffic overview for the site.

He said that a traffic impact assessment was filed with NJ DOT in November 2013 and a supplemental assessment was filed in April 2016.

The developer would be required to widen Route 88 along the frontage of the commercial development for bypass or turning movements, and would have to make curbing, shoulder and drainage improvements there, Dean said.

“The most interesting element of Wawa is 85 percent of the people who use it are already driving past the site. They capture traffic that is already there,” he said. “Being at a corner is advantageous.”

Between 2013 and 2016 traffic has “stagnated” in that area of Route 88, or gone down a little bit, but it is estimated that between 180 and 220 vehicles could visit the site an hour, primarily to get gas at Wawa, he said.

The testimony for the JSM application would continue at the August 16 Board of Adjustment meeting, which will be at 7 p.m. in Town Hall.

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Judy moved to Ocean County from New York City in 1988, and began her second career as a feature and news reporter in the mid-1990's. She has worked for Micromedia Publications since 2008, primarily reporting for The Toms River Times and The Brick Times. Judy has also worked for The Leader Review in Point Pleasant Beach, The Brick Communicator and The Asbury Park Press. Reach Judy by e-mail at [email protected]