Lakewood Development Plan Heads to Trenton


lakewood-smallLakewood, NJ’s development footprint for the next 20 years heads to Trenton to seek the state’s blessing after the township committee adopted the controversial measure last night with some minor¬†amendments. Following a series of public input forums that culminated last month with a divided crowd of more than 500 people, committee members voted unanimously to accept a smart growth plan that includes dense commercial centers and double the housing stock in the next two decades.”Just because we don’t pass a plan doesn’t mean construction will stop,” Committeeman Steven Langert said. “What we need to do is find a way to control it.”

Opposition lay mostly with seniors and preservationists who insisted the town did not have the infrastructure or public support to welcome an expected 230,000-person population by 2030.

“That Route 9 is going to be the same problem all the way down if you keep building and building,” Joe Kirsch, 76, said of the congested north-south artery through town.

Town planners emphasized that improving Route 9 was the plan’s number one priority. Other minor changes and clarifications included altering circulation and parking following concerns from Georgian Court University.

The town’s largest population segment, Orthodox Jews, have largely praised the development direction that will accommodate the growing demand from yeshiva students and families to move here. Lakewood has moved from the 20th to the eighth largest municipality in the state in under a decade.

The plan will now be submitted to the State Planning Commission, whose backing is crucial. If the plan gets state endorsement it will be incorporated into the town’s master plan, a process that could take more than two years.

“Not to go forward with this and stagnate this again will put us behind the eight ball,” Mayor Robert Singer said.

{APP/Noam Newscenter}