Conifer Housing Unit causes concern with Middle Twp. Residents - NBC40.net

Conifer Housing Unit causes concern with Middle Twp. Residents

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CAPE MAY COURT HOUSE -

What was supposed to be a positive housing opportunity for Middle Township residents is causing quite the commotion. Some concerned animals lovers say where the complex is to be built is where some endangered species actually live.

Four New Jersey endangered species take refuge in the wooded areas of Middle Township. Including Railroad Avenue in Cape May Court House.

"It's basically completely surrounded. All but one small section by an existing Federal Fish and Wildlife Persevere and on it, it has copse's gray tree frogs, cattle egret, barred owl, and the tiger salamander," said concerned resident Bette McGurk.

But pretty soon, it will be home to a 48 unit affordable housing project, being built by Conifer Realty.

"We had a preliminary meeting and they indicated that there were no issues so far as habitat for endangered species," said Senior V.P. of Conifer Realty, Charles Lewis.

Confier has also filed with the DEP for a Coastal Area Facility Review Act, for environmental tests. If they come back positive Conifer will take the necessary steps to protect the wildlife, which would include lowering the curbs, and providing undeveloped ground near by.

But McGurk says that is not enough. "The children will have free range to gather tad poles, frog, lizards, anything they can."

In addition to the endangered species residents are also concerned about where the funding to build is coming from. It was just approved by the Governor's Office to give Conifer five million dollars from Hurricane Sandy Federal Funding.

"The idea is some buildings are never replaced so you can build elsewhere and the thought is maybe you should look where you are building instead of building on a barrier island," said Lewis.

According to Middle Township Mayor, Dan Lockwood, the state is making it mandatory for them to provide affordable housing. He says he approves of the Railroad Avenue site, and says no matter what that there is going to be a complex built in the area.

If all goes according to their plan, Conifer Realty says ground will be broken on the site in October. The complex is expected to open a year later.

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