American Properties was given the green light for an 80-unit mixed residential development, to be known as “Heritage at Pennington,” in July, when the Board approved the final resolution for site plan approval, variances and waivers.
To be located on on 12.88 acres off of Route 31, just north of the Straube Center, “Heritage at Pennington” would consist of 80-unit residential units — 19 buildings with 3 different styles comprised of 32 villas, 32 townhouses, and 16 “COAH” or affordable housing units. The villas would be 3-bedrooms with a 2-car garage; the townhouses would be 3-bedrooms with a 1-car garage; and the “COAH” units (affordable units) would be 2-bedroom with surface parking.
The Board stated, in its resolution, the reasons for approving the application:
“Since 2013, the Board has been working to review and create a zone that would encourage mixed family residential development on the Property. The Property, as reflected in numerous Master Plans and reexamination reports, has been viewed for more than 15 years as a property that could be appropriately developed for family residential housing but also include an affordable housing component… The applicant’s plans for development strike an appropriate balance for the need for affordable housing options for the Pennington community with a good site plan design, appropriate landscape buffering and open spaces, a stormwater management plan and a fire protection plan that are appropriate for the type of development proposed and will appropriately protect not only the residents of the applicant’s community, once built, but other Pennington residents as well.”
After months of hearings and review by applicant and Borough professionals, the final hearing of the application was in June to resolve the remaining issues identified in the April hearing: stormwater impact both downstream and on the wellhead, landscaping issues and fire protection.
With regard to fire suppression, in April, the applicant indicated that they determined that a sprinkler system would offer the best fire protection and were in the process of submitting the proposal to the Hopewell Valley Fire Official, Andrew Fosina. By June, the applicant had met with Fosina and, at his request, upgraded the system to a 6-inch main, to improv water flow to the fire protection system. The public piping will now be 8-inch and the hydrant will be attached to the public water supply. Fosina was also satisfied with fire protection and smoke detection systems.
After meeting with Pennington Borough engineer, Carmela Roberts from Roberts Engineering, LLC, and Borough officials, the detention basin has been redesigned to help mitigate downstream impacts. They have also revised the landscape plan between Building 13 and the nearest Pennington Point building in that area.
The project will be completed in two phases, with timing yet to be determined. Planning Board Member, Tom Ogren, asked if the applicant could maintain the Phase 2 portion of the property as uncleared to provide more construction buffering to neighboring community, Pennington Point. However, the applicant’s professional engineer and planner, Alfred Coco, stated that while possible, there is an economic efficiency clearing and grading at once but that the clearing and grading would also provide additional opportunity to ensure that the property is draining as intended. Clearing and grading will take approximately two to three months.
At the close of the hearing, Planning Board attorney, Edward Schmierer, explained that he had drafted a resolution, at the Board’s request, focusing on the conditions of approval — the ones that arose from applicant and Board professional comments as well as the conditions that arose that evening.
“With all these conditions, I feels that that this protects the Borough and the neighbors and keep the character of the Borough,” said Planning Board Member Kate O’Neill.
A motion was made and passed to approve the application with conditions. Schmierer informed the Board that, after the professionals have reviewed and made comments, he will circulate the resolution to Board members for final approval, which ultimately was signed and adopted on July 13, 2016.
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