Just when township officials thought they were at the finish line, the state Planning Commission again postponed a vote on the long-awaited Town Center plan.
The public hearing for Phase 1 of the massive plan along the Route 9 corridor was slated for today in Trenton. Approval of the plan would have brought Berkeley closer to the of the decaying Beachwood Shopping Center.
But officials informed Amato that no action would be taken until the state budget was approved, the mayor said.
"I understand," Amato said. "The state has to have a balanced budget by the end of the month. Obviously it's a priority."
But Amato says the township already passed its "biggest hurdle" when the state last month recommended the Planning Commission approve the Town Center plan.
"Without that, we wouldn't be going before the Planning Commission," he said. "They are looking to do it the first week in July."
The Planning Commission's endorsement would spell the end of the to get the redevelopment plan approved and the beginning of the end for the dilapidated Beachwood Shopping Center on Route 9.
The battered, vacant shopping plaza has been an embarrassment to more than one township administration. It's also a danger, with cracked windows, sagging overhangs and crumpled roof sections.
The L-shaped mall - once home to a Woolworth's, supermarket, bowling alley, Jersey Mike's and a slew of other stores - has sat unused and slowly deteriorating for almost a decade. Sections of roofs are starting to cave in and yellow tape lines the parking lot to keep trespassers out.
The Township Council gave another six-month extension to developer Donato Donofrio's firm REC Centers LLC at the June 12 council meeting as the designated developer for the first phase of the redevelopment plan.
The state Planning Commission originally scheduled a public hearing on the plan for May 16, which was postponed until June 20. Patch will alert readers as soon as the new hearing date is announced.