Can the battered Beachwood Shopping Center be bulldozed into oblivion soon, now that the state Planning Commission has approved Berkeley's redevelopment plan?
Not so fast.
Some things have to take place first, before that can happen, Township Planner James R. Oris said after last night's Township Council meeting.
For starters, developer Donato Donofrio and the Johnson family - which has owned the property for decades - have to agree on a price not just for the shopping center, but cleanup costs for the defunct asphalt plan behind it.
"Plan endorsement coms only after a very long effort, by the township and the state planning staff," Oris said.
members unanimously approved approved Berkeley's long-awaited, massive plan on July 16.
Oris was not surprised by the unanimous vote to approve the plan.
"I was very calm," he said. "I knew the state Planning Commission had the recommendation of the staff. It was the appropriate thing to do."
While many in town think the plan endorsement only deals with the dilapidated Beachwood Shopping Center, that is not the case, Oris said.
"The State Planning Commission granted plan endorsement for the entire town," he said.
Berkeley's redevelopment plan includes the other three redevelopment areas in the township, also known as "nodes," he said.
"It's the entire town," Oris said.
The state Office of Public Advocacy must also publish notice of the state Planning Commission's decision in the New Jersey Register and area newspapers, Oris said.
Ninety days after the notice, the New Jersey State Department of Environmental Protection's CAFRA (Coastal Areas Facilities Review Act) must approve the "coastal centers" in Berkeley's redevelopment plan - the four areas slated for redevelopment, he said.
Thirty days after that, any developer in Berkeley Township - including the developer of the Beachwood Shopping Center - can submit CAFRA plans for any future development to the state, Oris said.
The shopping center area is part of the Town Center 1 receiving area, and runs along the highway from the township line near Mizzen Avenue in Beachwood to the C.B. Huntington restaurant, according to a real estate market analysis by Philadelphia-based Urban Partners submitted to the township.
The Town Center 2 portion of the plan includes the Shop-Rite shopping center and the Shar-a-Dee apartment complex.
The third portion of the project is an extension of a light industrial area along Hickory Lane. The fourth section involves more intensive mixed use development of 73 parcels along Route 9 near Harbor Inn Road, according to the report.