2008-09-17 / Front Page

Commuters to get parking at Monmouth Heights club

BY KATHY BARATTA Staff Writer

MANALAPAN — The Township Committee has adopted an ordinance that will provide 150 parking spaces at the Monmouth Heights Swim Club, Ryan Road, for municipal use.

Most of the parking spaces will be reserved for Manalapan residents who commute to work via buses on Route 9 every day.T

he deal is pending approval of the Monmouth Heights Community Association.

T

he action was taken at the committee's

Sept. 10 meeting in a unanimous vote. The swim club which is just off Route 9 and behind the Manalapan Diner serves residents of the Monmouth Heights development which was built in the late 1960s.

Mayor Michelle Roth said the commuter parking spaces at the swim club will be allocated according to an existing waiting list of Manalapan residents, with no preferential status given to Monmouth Heights residents.

Roth said she believes there are about 900 residents on the waiting list for commuter parking.

According to the terms of the agreement under the ordinance, the operators of the Monmouth Heights Swim Club will lease the swim club's parking lot to Manalapan to be used for commuter parking from the day after Labor Day until the third week in June of each year, starting in 2009.

According to Roth, the parking lot will be used to provide commuter parking at a fee of $2 per day for commuters. She said a handful of the 150 parking spaces at the swim club will be set aside for people who take an occasional bus trip into New York City. That daily fee will also be $2.

Residents will be required to obtain a permit and to place it on their car so police officers who patrol the swim club lot can be certain that Manalapan residents are parking there.

Committeeman Richard Klauber said, "We want to control it so the lots are used by our residents and not by out-oftowners."

Roth said officials are working on an agreement to open up 100 commuter parking spaces behind Bed, Bath and Beyond at Route 9 and Craig Road, as well as at other areas in town that she declined to identify because those deals are being negotiated.

Roth said the Franklin Lane, Symmes Drive and Towne Pointe commuter parking lots will remain on an annual fee basis.

Before the vote, a public hearing was held.

Monmouth Heights resident Rhoda Chodosh noted that all Monmouth Heights residents, through the Monmouth Heights Community Association, pay an annual fee of $185 and as residents are considered members of the swim club whether they avail themselves of the services of the swim club or not.

Chodosh asked if the association would be indemnified against any slip and fall accidents that might occur in the swim club parking lot.

Township Attorney Kevin Kennedy addressed Chodosh's concern, telling her, "Excellent question, excellent concerns," and said those concerns had been addressed in the agreement which was going to contain mutual hold harmless agreements.

Monmouth Heights resident Martin Weisman asked if a traffic study had been conducted at the Ryan Road and Route 9 intersection near the swim club.

Roth said no traffic study has been conducted.

Weisman said he was concerned about adding traffic at an intersection which already has a bank and a gas station.

Roth said since officials are awaiting a final report from the swim club, she believes the concerns Weisman raised could be incorporated into the discussions in drawing up the final agreement. She asked the Manalapan Police Traffic Safety Division to take a look at the situation relative to the concerns Weisman raised.

Under the terms of the adopted ordinance, Manalapan will receive a 10-year lease from the swim club and in return the township will pave the swim club parking lot and provide ongoing maintenance of the lot. The services will include plowing the parking lot following a snowstorm. The ordinance provides for $90,000 to be expended for needed work on the swim club lot.

At the present time there are 1,100 commuter parking spaces in Manalapan:

• There are 516 parking spaces at the Franklin Lane commuter lot (416 spaces used by Manalapan residents and 100 spaces used by Marlboro residents; in return, Marlboro provides 100 spaces for Manalapan residents at its commuter parking lot at Union Hill Road and Route 9). The Franklin Lane commuter lot is off Route 9.

• There are 100 parking spaces at a daily parking lot on Franklin Lane next to the Wawa convenience store (current daily fee of $1; expected to be raised to $2). The Franklin Lane daily lot is just off Route 9.

• There are 200 commuter parking spaces at the Symmes Drive and Route 9 parking lot across from Value City.

• There are 200 commuter parking spaces at the Towne Pointe shopping center, Route 9.

• There are 100 commuter parking spaces behind the Bed, Beth and Beyond store at Route 9 and Craig Road.

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