By Paul Goldfinger, Editor @Blogfinger
We wrote about this subject in July (see link below) in response to an inquiry about zoning for Mary’s Place. At that time, no applications had come in to George Waterman, the Neptune Township Assistant Land Use Administrator. He is in charge of zoning determinations.
On August 5, the applications came in, and by August 12, the “approved zoning” stamp was issued by Mr. Waterman including permission to merge two lots into one. The plans by Shore Point Architects were then approved by HPC, and construction will begin in early October.
Mary’s Place is a facility without a category. The memo from the Township refers to it as a “Community Shelter”, but it has characteristics of a spa, a quasi-medical facility, a community residence, or “a place for women to heal.”
As reported by Blogfinger in July, the zoning on that beach block is single family residential, B and B’s and historic hotels. But, as we reported, the State statutes supersede the Neptune zoning regulations. The state says that “Community residences, shelters, and adult family care homes are permitted uses in residential districts. (state statute #40:55D-66.1).”
Under that heading comes this definition: “Community residences for the developmentally disabled, community shelters for victims of domestic violence, community residences for the terminally ill, community residences for persons with head injuries, and adult family care homes for elderly persons and physically disabled adults shall be a permitted use in all residential districts of a municipality, and the requirements therefore shall be the same as for single family dwelling units located within such districts. “
We asked Mr. Waterman to explain which of the above definitions would Mary’s Place satisfy in order to get zoning approval.
He pointed to “community residences and shelters” as the main use categories and then singled out the “terminally ill” part as matching what is done at Mary’s Place. It should be noted that Mary’s Place accepts female clients who have all degrees of cancer. No medical treatments are conducted there at this time, although Mary’s Place officials speak of creating a place where western and eastern medicine will “compliment” each other.* Another high official at Neptune Township said that Mary’s Place was approved because it is a sort of “halfway house” as exist for “battered women.”
*NJ.com. September 13, 2014