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MIDDLETOWN, NJ-K. Hovnanian, the Red Bank, NJ-based homebuilder, wants to develop its 120-unit Spy House Harbor condo complex on 26 vacant acres on the Sandy Hook Bay waterfront, and the marine commercial zoning would allow the developer to move forward. But the township’s zoning laws include a provision requiring the commercial and residential mixed uses to be done by the same developer.

Hovnanian only wants to do the residences, however. Hence, the need to get a variance from the township committee in order to proceed, and the committee is currently considering the change.

The site formerly held the J. Howard Smith Co., which processed fish into fertilizer and other non-food products. The factory closed its doors in the 1980′s, and most of the buildings were torn down in the early ’90s. One small structure remains on the site.

Seaport Associates, a local development group, floated a plan several years ago to build more than 150 condos, a shopping/entertainment complex, and a marina with more than 600 slips. That project never came to be, and now Hovnanian has emerged with the proposal to at least get the residential component up and running.

For potential residents, the site would provide views of the Manhattan skyline some 20 miles across Sandy Hook and Raritan Bays and New York Harbor. A new ferry terminal is being built nearby.

No schedule for completion of the approval process has been announced.

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