It's Back: Bamm Hollow Development
The developer, after settling a lawsuit with the Middletown, is back at the Planning Board.
When it comes to the contentious residential development of the Middletown Bamm Hollow swath, while the developer has gotten the go-ahead with preliminary site approval, there will be no groundbreaking anytime soon.
The approval from the Planning Board this week, at a special hearing on Feb. 29, signaled the official start of what amounts to a lawsuit settlement between the township and developer, Bamm Hollow Investors, LLC.
The reality: It could take years to see some of the 190 single family homes planned for the 280-acre site to start sprouting up, officials said, but the development is inevitable.
“The general development plan the developer was able to secure from the Planning Board in 2011 gave them protection from any changes in zoning for 20 years,” Township Planner Jason Greenspan said.
It is all part of the lawsuit settlement edict that has left many protesting residents and officials unsettled, but some thinking it’s the best of the worst-case development scenarios.
For years the township was embroiled in a legal fight with Bamm Hollow Investors, LLC that has cost it hundreds of thousands of taxpayer dollars in legal fees to fight. Aiming to tourniquet the legal cost bleed, the township struck an agreement with the developer to allow for the construction of the 190 single-family homes, where they initially wanted to build it out to roughly 1,200 housing units, with a few hundred affordable.
In addition to the build-out potential, the prospect of hundreds of affordable units included fueled a firestorm, mostly among Lincroft residents, where the site sits in close proximity to the former Avaya site that is up for approval of up to 342 housing units, including some 68 affordable “flats.”
The developer has opted for the maximum allowed on the Bamm Hollow site and officials, while not thrilled, find the number more palatable than the expense of a continued legal fight and possibility of a mandate for more housing on the site.
“The 190 units was a number the township was not uncomfortable absorbing,” Greenspan said. “We were able to settle that without jeopardizing our entire affordable housing plan. We have a housing plan that provides for affordable housing all over Middletown, in all neighborhoods, and the issue that we’ve been able to resolve with Bamm Hollow helps underscore the validity of that plan.”
That is why this development, per the settlement, does not call for affordable housing. In exchange, the developer has agreed to provide a developer contribution, on a per-unit basis, to the township’s affordable housing trust account, said Greenspan.
It’s the status quo when affordable housing is not included in a development plan. Generally, when a
The contribution will be based on the value of the property when homes are ready for a certificate of occupancy, Greenspan added. It will be calculated when the development is built.
“The Bamm Hollow development is not part of our inclusionary housing plan,” Greenspan added. “We were able to satisfy that obligation and meet a (state) quota, per our plan, without incorporating that site into it.”
With this settlement plan, the township’s master plan was amended to accommodate appropriate zoning, a “rural residential zone district” (RR). Some of the associated land on the site will be dedicated to the township as open space. Traffic and environmental impact studies were also conducted, Greenspan said.
The studies have not been a comfort to nearby residents. Click here to see a story on the Avaya site traffic analysis.
Tell us how you feel about the Bamm Hollow development proposed in the comments section below. Do you prefer this to an alternative of potentially 1,200 units on the site if the suit was fought further and the township lost? What other alternatives do you think there should have been?