With public reactions to the development proposed for the former Amy Karyn / Sun Bank site, at the July Hopewell Planning Board meeting, appearing to be less than positive, 64 East Broad Street, LLC intends to unveil a revised plan at the Board’s September 7 meeting. MercerMe has the pictures and details.
Set for a continued hearing on Wednesday September 7 at 6:30pm, the proposed development would still remain a single-story, five-unit retail center.
Responding to the public’s and the Planning Board’s concerns at the July meeting, the developer now plans to create curbing and sidewalks along Maple Street. The number of parking spaces has been increased, so as to remove the need for a parking variance. Additionally, the size of the two “end” retail units have been reduced to less than 2,000 square feet each, so as to not require a “D” variance, which is one traditionally more difficult to obtain. (Note: the Developer’s removal of the request for the “D” variance means that the class of Planning Board members that includes the Council and Mayor’s appointees and the town clerk, can now be involved in the Board’s decision. At the July meeting those three members had to remove themselves from the deliberations due to a prohibition in the Municipal Land Use Law from those members from being involved with “D” variance requests.)
The revised front elevation, as well as the side and rear entrances are shown below. Slight modifications to materials and the roof design appear to be in response to comments from the Board’s engineer and planner.
Despite the changes, the amount of the lot devoted to the project still exceeds the amount permitted in the B-R zone, requiring a variance for lot coverage. Concerns about water runoff were a common theme at the July meeting, suggesting that more testimony and questioning may be coming in September.
As noted in MercerMe’s prior coverage, some members of the public and the Board were pleased with the project’s positioning on Board Street with parking in the rear, but were concerned with the overall size. Also unclear was the Developer’s decision to construct a one-story building that covered so much of the lot. A majority of buildings in the zone are multi-story, with a mix of uses that include residential, and allow for more “floor area” without the requirement for lot coverage variances.
It remains to be seen if the curbing and sidewalks proposed for Maple street will adequately address the concern for pedestrian safety at the site. MercerMe has covered several accidents at that corner in recent years, including an accident that resulted in the death of a pedestrian, as well as efforts by the Borough to calm traffic on the important thoroughfare.
Important “Sunshine” Update: The September 7 hearing will be held at a special early time, 6:30 PM, to accommodate this hearing and a continued hearing on the town’s proposed redevelopment designation.