The Hopewell Borough Planning Board approved the redevelopment of 11 Seminary Ave, adding a new retail space and new apartments to the town.
The project, undertaken by Princeton-based RB Homes, will transform the auto parts store on Seminary Avenue, which RB Homes partner Daniel Barsky described as “dated” and “not properly maintained,” into a space that will “[keep] the existing characteristics of the building while bringing it up to date.”
The plan, originally introduced in September, has been revised from seven apartments to three, with one single-bedroom apartment and two two-bedroom apartments, as well as a retail space on the ground floor, with potential room for an additional smaller, retail space as well. None of the apartments would be eligible for affordable housing, however, according to Board Chair Peter Macholdt.
The Board’s main concern about the new plan was parking, with board member Marylou Ferrara describing Seminary Avenue as “a problem-street.” The plan provides for 13 total parking spaces, consisting of two standard parking stalls and one handicap stall for the retail space and another 10 spaces available on the street, down from the 20 spots on the original plan.
The Board however was still not satisfied with the proposed parking, as they estimate “one to two cars per apartment,” plus parking for customers and employees for the retail space.
Barsky reassured the Board that, “in their experience,” the parking is adequate, and said that they came to an agreement with First Constitution Bank to allow overflow parking in their lot, if needed.
“We’re not trying to shut you down, we’re just trying to come to an accommodation that works for you and works for the town,” Macholdt said. “For ninety percent of what you’re doing, you’re not making anything worse.”
Other concerns, such as trash pickup and delivery trucks, were discussed by the Board, which Barsky reassured the Board that retailer would be responsible for trash pickup and the area will not require large delivery trucks, with current plans offering a large enough area only for a “FedEx-sized delivery truck.”
The Board approved RB Homes’s plan in a six-to-one vote, with David Shymko being the only dissenting vote. No timeline was given when the project would begin.
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