Scotch Rd residential development application reviewed by Hopewell Twp planning board

Architectural rendering provided by applicant for Hopewell Parc: http://www.hopewelltwp.org/DocumentCenter/View/5684/B-93-L-501_502_602-Plans---Part-8-Architecturals-1

The Hopewell Township planning board has been in the process of examining a new application for a residential and affordable housing development called Hopewell Parc that is to be located on the west side of Scotch Road, south of Washington Crossing Pennington Road.

The application seeks to develop a residential development containing 1,077 units of single-family homes, townhomes, and apartments. Of these units, 216 will be set aside for affordable housing. The full application can be found at this link.

In support of the application, Jason Tuvel, attorney for applicant “US Home Corporation, D/B/A Lennar” (“Lennar”), produced three different experts at hearings on March 25 and Febuary 25th, to describe the plans’ benefits and answer Board questions.

Mitch Newman, the director of land acquisition for Lennar, who testified first on February 25, explained that Lennar is confident in the application: “We’ve addressed this with a variety of market rate and affordable housing types, an extensive recreation amenity system with green spaces, and a site designed that preserves the environmentally sensitive features and promote a walkable community.” Newman explained to the Board in a presentation.

The new residential development will be split into two sections — north and south — with a pool, clubhouse, and a community garden available to residents who will be responsible for association fees.

During the first of two meetings, the Board questioned how the affordable housing will impact the other areas. Newman explained that the affordable housing units will be scattered across througout the townhouses and apartment complexes.

“What we’ve done, and what we’re excited about, is the affordable homes are well distributed in this community,” Newman said. “We have a variety of six different building types with various elevations and styles, and those six buildings are in seven different locations.”

For past MercerMe coverage about Scotch Road development, please see this link.

Continuing on March 25, Tuvel returned to his presentation by addressing the infrastructure of the project discussing everything ranging from where residents would park, to fire safety, and even how many lights would be on the streets.

Brian Perry,Tuvel’s second expert, a LEED-accredited professional in building design and construction, explained that the streets will be lined with lights: “We have determined that we have 322 luminaires in the south, lining the streets,” Perry said.

Planning board chairperson Councilwoman Karen Murphy noted that the lighting for the project was going overboard as Hopewell doesn’t require or need street lights. “We do not want lights all along the roadway — we want them in the parking lots… intersections, where there’s pedestrian car interactions.” Murphy said. “I would like you to revise it and represent it to the board next meeting.”

The planning board also raised concerns about stormwater drainage, in particular that the stormwater documents are a year out of date. Perry explained that regulations on stormwater drainage changed on March 1, 2021 and that the stormwater plans have not been updated to the new rules. Tuvel then submitted the New Jersey “time of application” rule, which allows applicants not to meet the standard, if they have already been approved based on standards when the application was submitted.

The Board also raised questions about the residential area’s effect on local traffic. Specifically, the Board expressed concern that, based on current proposed plans, one exiting the development from the northern boulevard would not make a left turn on Scotch road but instead, would have to make a right and then make a u-turn. The Board suggested that the necessity for a u-turn could have a large impact on traffic in the area.

Karl Pehnke, Tuvel’s third expert explained that it would be almost impossible to allow traffic to make a left turn from that area due to the large medians between the two roads. “Unfortunately, or fortunately…[Scotch Road] was built with a substantial median, with mobile lanes in each direction, some very high rates of speed and so forth,” Pehnke explained. “A left turn out will be very difficult, because you’ve got a long distance to go.”

The study Pehnke cited during the explanation was done in the middle of the day during the summer. Murphy said that the traffic survey should be taken during peak hours and adjust for high volumes on Scotch Road for accuracy.

“If you did a traffic study at 7:30am in the morning between 7:30am and 8am when everyone’s going to schools,” Murphy said, “I think you will see a surge at that hour as well…I think you should look at some data in some other roads.”

The next meeting will take place on April 22 at 7 pm and continue the Hopewell Parc application.

Edited at 7:46am, April 19 to clarify the housing types that will be built.

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1 COMMENT

  1. I truly believe that allowing this to occur is a huge mistake. The traffic on Reed Road is already outrageous What measures are going to be put in place to keep Reed Road from being even more congested and how will the 25 mph speed limit be reinforced? The safety of my children is my concern with the potential increase in traffic on the road that my family lives on.

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