Revised concept offered for lifestyle center at Peddler’s Village site in Wall

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A graphic from an email to Wall Township officials shows a revision of a concept for a proposed lifestyle center [center left] at the old Peddler's Village site.

WALL TOWNSHIP – The owner of the former Peddler’s Village site has sent township officials an email with a revised version of his proposal for developing a mixed-use lifestyle center on the property on Atlantic Avenue off the Manasquan Circle. 

The site, which contains a vacant, circa-1950s shopping center now invariably described as an eyesore, has been declared by the state as an area in need of redevelopment. Efforts to remake the 22-acre parcel have stirred controversy for more than a year, and the original redevelopment concept was opposed by a group called Residents Against Peddlers Village Rezoning.

The Aug. 25 email was sent from Thomas B. Bauer, a Brielle landscape architect for the property owner, John P. Shibles of Sea Girt, to Township Attorney William Wolf and Township Administrator Jeffry Bertrand, who “out of complete transparency,” he said, displayed it during the township committee’s virtual meeting on Aug. 26. 

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In the cover letter, Mr. Bauer said the revised proposal “respectfully addresses the concerns of the adjacent neighborhood …” 

Among the modifications, he said, are relocating the buildings farther from the Apple Ridge development; reducing the building heights; preserving more of the existing vegetation; and decreasing the residential units from 350 to 299. 

The email also contains an aerial photograph of the current site and two site-plan graphics showing original and revised plans.

Officials took no action at the meeting and stressed that receipt of the email does not mean officials have endorsed or approved the new preliminary concept, which is being reviewed by Mr. Bertrand and Mr. Wolf. 

During the meeting, Mr. Bertrand said “This is the developer’s first attempt to acquiesce to the concerns expressed not only by the governing body and township professionals but also residents. We will take this under advisement and we will analyze it.

“As this thing moves forward, there will be scheduled community forums … We don’t want anybody to think the governing body has approved something in advance. That is not the case,” he said.

During the public comment portion of the meeting, several residents voiced concerns.

Robert Sosnowski of Bennett Lane said, “I would encourage the developer, that if he ever wants to see something built … he has to get more residents involved.”

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