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Planning Board OKs 18-home Subdivision at Avalon Manor Marina

The Middle Township Planning Board will hold a hearing March 14 on an application for conversion of the existing Avalon Marine Center from a commercial and storage marina to one focused on recreation. The plan also calls for an accessory restaurant. 
Source: Google Maps
The Middle Township Planning Board approved construction of 18 homes on property now used for the Avalon Manor Marina’s office building after a four-hour hearing Feb. 15.

By Vince Conti

COURT HOUSE – The Middle Township Planning Board approved construction of 18 homes on property now used for the Avalon Manor Marina’s office building and for boat storage after a four-hour hearing at which nearby homeowners raised objections to the plans.

BLS Property Holdings LLC was seeking the board’s approval Feb. 15 to subdivide marina parcels into 19 lots for single-family residential development. The board was being asked to grant variances for front and backyard setbacks on one lot and for backyard setbacks on another. The applicant also sought waivers of environmental and community impact assessments and side lot lines perpendicular to streets, curbing and sidewalks.

Objections raised during the hearing keyed on parking congestion, speeding and public safety; the public safety concerns focused on the ease with which fire equipment could respond in an area that lacked hydrants.

Those who were opposed also made clear that their concern was not with a residential subdivision at the location but with the number of houses being proposed. At one point they offered to end their opposition if the subdivision was limited to 15 lots; that offer was not accepted.

Votes of 4-3 against approving the variances for the two nonconforming lots made it appear as though the hearing would end with 17 conforming lots approved. But consolidation of the two nonconforming lots that had failed to get waivers left the subdivision with 18 lots.

The application for the residential subdivision was the latest plan for the conversion of the marina. In March 2023 the marina’s owners proposed a conversion that centered more on recreational use of the property.

Along with that plan came a 150-seat restaurant and bar proposal that generated strong opposition in the neighborhood.

A hearing on that application was postponed several times, ending with the application’s not coming before the board. The addition of the restaurant to the 2023 application for changes to the marina would have required a use variance. Parking for the restaurant was also a major concern of nearby homeowners, who feared parking problems would spread to their neighborhoods.

Contact the author, Vince Conti, at vconti@cmcherald.com.

Reporter

Vince Conti is a reporter for the Cape May County Herald.

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