Officials brief residents on likely settlement of housing suit

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This property off Route 71, near Squan Plaza, may become part of a site for affordable housing units in Manasquan. PHOTO BY MARK R. SULLIVAN

MANASQUAN — The First Aid Squad building was packed last Saturday morning as dozens of residents gathered to hear an update from the mayor and council on litigation over the borough’s affordable housing plans.

The latest development concerns the borough’s eventual treatment of a new plan by local developer William Sepe for 45 units that would be split between a site on Broad Street and one on Union Avenue. Mr. Sepe had been granted the status of an “interested party” in the lawsuit filed against Manasquan by the Fair Housing Center.

Mayor Edward Donovan told The Coast Star on Friday that the judge in the case is strongly encouraging the borough to reach a settlement in the case.

At Saturday’s meeting, Councilman Michael Mangan said, “The borough is going to be court-ordered to agree to 14 market rate units and nine affordable housing units on the Union Avenue property … [that’s] 23 [units] on Union Avenue and 22 on Broad [Street].” 

“They come as a package with no affordable units on Broad and nine affordable units on Union that satisfy the affordable requirement for both properties,” he said.

Approached by a reporter for The Coast Star on Tuesday, Mr. Sepe said, “we don’t really have a plan right now, it’s not formalized,” and he declined to comment further.

Residents who spoke at the meeting raised concerns about tight parking conditions along Broad Street site, poor accessibility for emergency vehicles and the aesthetics of proposed multi-unit buildings.

Bret Kaplan, of Beams Terrace, referring to a property Mr. Sepe owns at 44 Broad Street, addressed the developer directly, saying, “It’s an eye sore right now … The property doesn’t look good and for a landlord that’s a resident of Manasquan, I would be ashamed … I hope aesthetically you do something with it that will promote the town … I’m sure you can do something nice there.” 

At its next meeting on July 2, the council plans to approve a resolution accepting the affordable housing component of the proposed Fair Housing settlement. On July 16, the council is expected to act on a resolution concerning the redevelopment component of the proposed project.

For more on this story, read next week's edition of The Coast Star—on newsstands Thursday or online in our e-Edition.