JACKSON-The Jackson Township Council, led by Barry Calogero are remaining steadfast in their resolve to allow a city-like complex along Route 537 to become a reality. An ordinance put on tomorrow night’s agenda by Calogero calls for the spot zoning of a parcel of land owned by land developer Vito Cardinale of Cardinale Enterprises to change an existing highway commercial zone into a mixed-use highway commercial zone.
That ordinance would allow Cardinale, who is also developing Adventure Crossing to build as much as, if not more than 600 apartment units on the property without having to go through the township’s zoning board for a variance.
In Cardinale’s original renderings and plans for Adventure Crossing, he proposed nearly 600 apartment units in the project for an existing plan before the zoning board. After a setback in the form of a lawsuit by neighbors, Cardinale is being forced to reimagine parts of his Adventure Crossing project in light of a settlement with that lawsuit.
Cardinale says those 600 apartments, which previously were standalone three-story buildings in two clusters, nearly 30 in all, would now be reenvisioned as store-top apartments, in a downtown like atmosphere similar to what was originally proposed decades ago by Mitch Leigh’s Jackson 21 project, just a few miles down the interstate from Cardinale’s project.
The confusing ordinance comes at a time when Jackson Township is fighting to preserve its identity as one of the last rural and wooded bastions against overdevelopment in New Jersey.
Adding to the 180-degree turn in policy by Calogero who applauded the defeats of Jackson Trails and Jackson Parke is a backdrop of possible backroom deals by the council and mayor.
Cardinale Enterprises is represented by attorney Sal Alfieri. In November, Mayor Michael Reina attended a cocktail reception hosted by Alfieri at the Landshark Bar and Grill in the Resorts Casino during the annual League of Municipalities before having dinner with Cardinale later that evening at Bobby Flay’s at the Borgata Hotel and Casino. Two weeks later, the township adopted a Master Plan revision which didn’t include this zoning change, but paved the way for the current ordinance proposed by the township council.
Alfieri also happens to be the lawyer representing the application who is suing Jackson Township over its denial of the Jackson Trails development.
Calogero and the council have refused several requests for comments regarding this ordinance.