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Plans are advancing for a project to replace the fire damaged buildings at 150 Airport Road with a new state-of-the-art 4-story office building, FAA News has learned.

The project is owned by Mark Tress and Stephen Werdiger of Lakeside Holdings LLC.

The existing site contains 3 one-story office buildings and a new multi-story office building. 2 of the 3 one-story office buildings have been damaged by fire. All 3 of the one-story office buildings are to be removed.

The demolished buildings will be replaced with a 4-story office building which will contain about 33,000 sq feet of office space.

The existing multi-story office building will remain on the tract. That building contains more than 20,000 sq feet of office space.

The proposed off- street parking will consist of 266 spaces, more than 215 required under the Township's zoning ordinances.

The project received contingent approval from the Ocean County Planning Board on December 7, 2022.

On February 7, 2023 the project also received approval from the Lakewood Planning Board, with the condition that they install sidewalks on Airport Road, besides from in front of the culvert.

However, the big issues still to get tackled are the environmental ones.

There is a stream with wetlands including a transition area and a riparian zone in the northwesterly edge of the site. There is a pond in the center of the site, separating the one-story buildings. 

Additionally, some wooded areas consisting of large coniferous vegetation are left on the fringe undeveloped portions of the property. The bulk of the land generally slopes towards the central pond.

All these environmental constraints require permits from the New Jersey Department of Environmental Protection before the office building can be built.

This permit process is now advancing.

The developers submitted an application for a CAFRA Individual Permit, Freshwater Wetlands LOI, and Transition Area Waiver on September 14, 2022.

Just about a week ago, DEP deemed the application "Complete for Final Review."

The existing office buildings were destroyed in a massive, historic wildland fire that occurred on Sunday, March 14, 2021.

As the fire, which was first reported by the New Jersey Forest Fire Service Observation Tower in Lakewood, quickly spread, firefighters battled through the night – in the face of 20 mile-per-hour winds – in an effort to contain the blaze.  During the course of the fire, a firefighter from the New Jersey Forest Fire Service suffered cardiac arrest and was transported to Hackensack Meridian Ocean Medical Center in Brick Township

Approximately 167 acres of land were destroyed by the fire, and it was finally deemed under control on Monday afternoon.

Days after the fire, Ocean County Prosecutor Bradley D. Billhimer announced that an investigation by the Ocean County Prosecutor’s Office Major Crime Squad-Arson Unit, Ocean County Prosecutor’s Office High Tech Crime Unit, Ocean County Fire Marshal’s Office, Lakewood Township Police Department Detective Bureau, and Ocean County Sheriff’s Office Crime Scene Investigation Unit, has determined that the wildland fire was intentionally set.

“We have located the origin of the fire and have concluded that the fire was intentionally set,” Prosecutor Billhimer stated.

"The significance of this wildland fire cannot be overstated. We have a firefighter that suffered cardiac arrest while battling this fire. Three homeless people living in the woods were saved from the advancing fire. Numerous residences and commercial properties were damaged and hundreds of people were evacuated. It is only by the grace of God that no one was killed. This remains an active and ongoing investigation," Prosecutor Billhimer added.

Subsequently, on June 14, 2021, Prosecutor Billhimer that the investigation into who set a wildfire along the Garden State Parkway in March was at an impasse because nearly five dozen potential witnesses were uncooperative.

"Detectives have attempted to interview approximately 60 potential witnesses and reviewed video recordings from cameras in proximity to the fire. The vast majority of these potential witnesses have been less than cooperative with our investigation, and as such, we are currently at an impasse at this point in time," Billhimer said in a written statement.

Following this announcement, members of the Lakewood Board of Fire Commissioners reached out to the Prosecutor's Office and urged them to reinvigorate their efforts into the investigation, noting the severity of the fire and the fact that a firefighter suffered cardiac arrest while battling this fire.

In response, the Prosecutor's Office assured the Fire Commissioners that they do already have a suspect.

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1 comment:

001 said...

Who is the suspect? I’ve yet to see any statement by any law enforcement official.