Myth #1: Some have tried to portray Manalapan Strong as against all development.
Fact #1: Manalapan Strong supports responsible development that is consistent with the rural/suburban character of our town and landscape, as well as consistent with the Township's existing Master Plan. By promoting rational land use policies, our citizens are better able to control local government spending, maintain stable or lower property taxes, promote environmental health and safety, and ensure all homeowners in Manalapan maintain and enhance the value of their homes.
Myth #2: Some say Manalapan Strong is against building affordable housing. Fact #2: Manalapan Strong supports addressing affordable housing on a township-wide basis. Any affordable housing obligation approved in the current review process by the court should be appropriately spread out throughout the town so that no single area is subjected to over-development. Several members of Manalapan Strong have volunteered to work with the Township on the municipality's affordable housing requirements in order to formulate a common sense approach to addressing any state-driven mandates. Manalapan Strong is against using affordable housing plans to advance the needs or agendas of builders and developers using the state statutory provision of "builder's remedy."
Myth #3: Some say Manalapan Strong did not allow the approval process to work. Fact #3: Manalapan Strong opposed the ordinance that would have given the go-ahead to Manalapan Crossing because it was based on a "field of dreams" concept that included a grab bag of items wanted by the developer. These items were unsuitable to the area and in conflict with the Township's Master Plan. These proposed uses included: An amphitheater, convention center, hotel, commuter parking lot, and, of course, 700-plus apartments in four to five story buildings. We believe that introducing such ordinances invites overly-dense mixed-use project proposals/applications in our residential town. Such over-development would likely lead to additional traffic congestion, more local government service expenditures, and higher taxes. Any tax revenues raised would be offset by the increasing municipal costs to maintain public safety, school/education, fire, police, and road maintenance. Studies have documented that this type of over-development actually drives up property taxes for residents.
Myth #4: Those who supported Manalapan Crossing allege that Manalapan Strong uses scare tactics and misinformation. Fact #4: Quite to the contrary, the truth is that Manalapan Strong has presented residents with facts and data based on our research. We canvassed various neighborhoods and communities throughout our town to alert people to the negative impact that over-development such as Manalapan Crossing would have on our town's landscape. We are a volunteer organization without a self-serving agenda. We are citizens like you who want to maintain a good quality of life, stable and lower property taxes, less traffic congestion, and strong economic growth with rising home values. Detractors of Manalapan Strong's positive efforts are presenting information from developer-prepared marketing materials and developer-paid studies as if they were objective studies with legitimate facts. However, it is clear that these studies are biased and not objective. These same detractors are also using scare tactics regarding potential lawsuits by developers as a means to gain support for Manalapan Crossing; they argue "build it or something worse will come from litigation." However, Manalapan Strong believes that the Township can protect itself from such "builder's remedy lawsuits" due to Manalapan's: 1) Strong record of compliance with past affordable housing obligations; 2) Ongoing progress on providing affordable housing over the years versus many other municipalities that have done much less to meet their obligations; and 3) Continued best efforts to provide affordable housing to residents who need it. To support this objective, Manalapan Strong is seeking to ensure that our town's recently submitted affordable housing plan, now under review by the Monmouth County Superior Court, does not lead to high density, over-development or saturation in any one part of the town. We are one Manalapan, and we believe that a common sense approach to provide affordable housing will ensure that the ultimate number of units required under our obligation is reasonably dispersed. Most importantly, we want to ensure that the voices of our citizens are heard, and that development decisions respect the will of the people, not the wishes of private real estate developers or politicians.
Myth #5: Some say that Manalapan Strong is not an open organization. Fact #5: Manalapan Strong is ready and willing to meet with any interested party, developer, or local official looking to discuss responsible development in Manalapan. Our membership includes Democrats, Republicans, and Independents coming together to achieve a delicate balance between rational development and preserving open/ green space Working on behalf of all the citizens, Manalapan Strong has committees looking at the vision for the future and soliciting input from various communities throughout our wonderful town.