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MIDDLETOWN, NJ-Before its recent “visit” to the township committee, the $150 million Town Center proposal offered by the locally based Mountain Hill Group was a 1.7 million-sf mixed-use urban village on 80 acres within an open 132-acre tract owned by Mountain Hill (see earlier stories). The good news is that the committee (the equivalent of a city council) is prepared to let the developer use 100 acres of the site.

The bad news is that the committee has reduced the project to 870,000 sf. With less building space on more acreage, the committee is aiming for less density. The remaining 32 acres, which Mountain Hill wanted to develop completely, would ostensibly remain as open space. A return to the planning board is the next step for the proposal.

The project remains highly controversial, even in its new reduced form. Concerned Citizens of Middletown, a grass roots group, remains adamantly opposed to any develop on the tract, even though the township’s master plan has long had the site designated for mixed-use development.

According to officials, the proposal probably won’t come through the planning board study without further changes. At a committee meeting yesterday, township committeewoman Rosemarie Peters expressed the view that “additional changes in the zoning may result.”

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