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LONG BRANCH, NJ-Local developer Park Avenue Estates LLC wants to build a 34-unit development on 28 acres in the Elberon section of this Jersey Shore city, and the planning board likes the proposal. The board recently gave preliminary approval for the overall site plan for what would be called Park Avenue Estates.

But a group called the Elberon Voters and Property Owners Association, which has opposed the plan since it was first announced last year, figures to mount a legal challenge. Specifically, the group contends that the developer doesn’t own an access road, which if true would force a dramatic reconfiguration of the project for it to proceed. The second bone of contention involves the project’s proposed sewerage and drainage system and its possible impact on an adjacent lake.

The site, which is known locally as “the ranch,” has had a colorful history. Back in the ’60s and ’70s it was the site of a hippie commune; more recently it was a horse farm. Opponents of the development want the city to buy the land, which has been appraised at $9.2 million, and retain it as open space.

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