Residents oppose proposed housing development at 200-year-old farm

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HAZLET -

Residents in a Monmouth County town say that they are opposed to a planned housing development at the site of a 200-year-old working farm.

Hundreds of residents packed a Hazlet town committee meeting Tuesday evening to express their anger and concern over plans to build a brand new apartment complex at the vacant Holy Family School and the Stone Road Meadows vegetable farm. The 26-acre farm has been in operation since the 1830s.

“This beautiful open space of 26 acres. We don’t really want to see a ton of apartments here. We don’t want to see any apartments here. We want to see something that fits in with our suburban tone,” resident Jamie Iacouzzi tells News 12 New Jersey.

Iacouzzi is leading the charge against the proposed complex. She says that at least 500 other Hazlet residents are on her side. She says that the opposition is not concerned that the apartments will be affordable housing public units, but they are concerned about their quality of life such as increased traffic, flooding concerns and higher taxes.

“It’s called the Garden State. Hello! You’re going to take away the entire garden and we’re not going to have nothing (sic) but just the state,” says neighboring Union Beach resident Raffaela Santiago.

The town posted a statement on their website about the situation, stating, "Affordable housing, as required by the state of New Jersey, has been an issue in Hazlet for over 30 years. New Jersey courts have made several judgments in the past few years that have brought this issue to a crossroad for Hazlet."

A vote was planned to take place at Tuesday’s meeting, but the meeting ran too long due to all the public comments. A new vote is scheduled for Sept. 4.

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