HOWELL – Members of the Howell Planning Council voted to approve a preliminary and final site plan for an application proposing the construction of a 319-unit residential complex on Fort Plains Road.
During a meeting on Feb. 17, Planning Council Chairman Brian Tannenhaus, Deputy Chairman Nicholas Hussar, City Council Member Evelyn O’Donnell, Robert Nicastro, Paul Dorato, Brian Greenfield, Robert Seaman, Megan Talent and Joseph Cristiano voted to vote. Howell, LLC.
FP Howell, LLC, and the estate of William Whelan of Gina Betancourt, John Berkaben and Ruth Bennett, as owners, received unit approval and approval of a site plan for species at Monmouth Estate on 102 acres in Fort Plains and on the Sunnyside Highway.
The applicant proposed to build 319 dwellings consisting of 72 houses to be sold at market rates; 155 townhouses will be sold at market rates; and 92 condominiums / apartments to be designated as affordable housing and sold at below market prices.
Affordable housing is defined as housing that is sold or rented at below-market rates to individuals and families whose income meets certain principles.
Howell and other New Jersey municipalities have been ordered by the New Jersey Supreme Court to provide opportunities to develop affordable housing within their borders.
Public hearings on Views at Monmouth Manor have been held by the council for several months. At a meeting on February 17, residents offered their comments on the application for a vote of the council.
Resident Fred Gasier said: “My problem with this project is its size, location and what kind of planning will be needed after this project is launched. We are well acquainted with this property, have long bought from her fruits and vegetables. Our property borders (subject property), and we often walk on that property through the woods. ”
Gasior said he had read all the reports related to the project and said he understood the need for affordable housing and the Supreme Court requirement.
“Some of the comments I made contradict the environmental report. I read the report, it’s a good cookie report … I don’t know how much time (the applicant’s representatives) actually spent on this property, but after reading the report, I don’t think it was too much because they referred to their research , local documents, history and the library, ”Gasier said.
He referred to the list of animals noted in the environmental report.
“I would just like to add that based on my observations of what I saw when we drove to this property, you have turkeys, red foxes, gray foxes, coyotes and red-tailed hawks. We have a bald eagle from time to time, because behind our house there is a large pond.
“We have several species of herons, we have kingfishers, herons, owls, bats, two species of woodpeckers, hummingbirds, cardinals, and I will say that we have seen neither lynx nor bears because it was mentioned in that report. “Gassior said.
Gasier said the movement has grown exponentially over the past 20 years.
“Traffic is usually maintained from the last Home Depot, south, to Aldrich Road in the afternoon. Motorists, including me, drive along West Farms Road to Fort Plains Road to bypass all traffic. On weekdays, Fort Plains Road is a supplement to Route 9, which is a very busy road, ”he said.
Gassier said intersections on Casino Road and Route 9, West Farms Road and Route 9, Sunnyside Road and Route 9 and Hulses Corner Road and Route 9 are also problematic.
Attorney Kenneth Pape, from Heilbrunn Pape, Millstone Township, represented the applicant before the board and summed up after comments from members of the public.
“This app was presented to the board through the testimony of the professionals who developed the project … you have heard that there are no deviations (required).
“You have heard that this is a statement where the applicant participated with the township in a court hearing, appealed to the court and joined the final court decision.
“You have heard that the applicant has entered into a contract with the settlement, called the developer agreement, and confirmed in the record that they intend and will comply with all the requirements set out in this agreement,” Pape said.
He said it took time to work with Planning Council experts to address drainage issues that arose during the application process.
“We moved, I think, from 57 concerns to one (which was) technical. The stormwater design has been tested by your engineer and inspected (New Jersey Department of the Environment), Pape said.
Pape said council members heard testimony regarding on-site vehicles and noted that the proposed driveway was described as safe.
Following the remarks of the lawyer Tannenhaus made a motion to give a preliminary and final plan of approval. O’Donnell supported the decision, and board members unanimously approved Views at Monmouth Manor.
Affordable housing, which will be provided in the building, will help Howell officials to fulfill their obligations to provide affordable housing in the municipality.