(To read more on the multifamily market, click here.)

RED BANK, NJ-K Hovnanian, based here, has rolled out plans for three multifamily projects at different locations, and all three face a number of issues related to the environment, government regulations and zoning. The largest of the proposals is Four Seasons at Rockaway which, if built, would consist of 188 age-restricted townhouses, a 6,600-sf clubhouse and a variety of recreational amenities on 51 acres, according to a Hovnanian spokesman.

The site was originally proposed for Villages at Rockaway, a supermarket-anchored strip shopping center. Proposed by Wellfleet Developers Inc., it was to have combined with a residential component on an adjacent tract with an English Village-style design to create a larger mixed-use development. The Rockaway planning board approved Villages at Rockaway in 2000, but the process of getting the necessary environmental permits relating to water took so long that the potential supermarket tenant backed out, according to attorney Richard Oller, representing the site’s current ownership, citing Highlands watershed development restrictions.

Hovnanian is now under contract to buy the site from the private owner, according to Fenichel. The next step for Hovnanian is to get the site rezoned; it’s in a zone where residential use is not permitted.

The other two projects are both in Atlantic Highlands. Hovnanian has submitted a plan to build 80 condos on a six-acre waterfront site on Sandy Hook Bay, locally owned by the Giuliani family. Hovnanian’s plans for Steamer Point at Atlantic Highlands also include a 7,000-sf clubhouse facility, and would leave about three-quarters of the site as open space, according to Fenichel. Once again, the Giuliani site needs to be rezoned for residential–it’s currently in use as a boatyard.

Atlantic Highlands recently got a $250,000 grant from Monmouth County toward the borough buying the tract for preservation. According to Mayor Peter Donoghue, the borough has also gotten some funding from the New Jersey Green Acres program for the same purpose. Hovnanian has for the past year or so been at odds with local residents over a plan to build 42 residential units on another bayfront site in Atlantic Highlands. The so-called McConnell site has been the subject of a series of contentious hearings involving preservation.

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