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K. Hovnanian Begins Pitch for 199-Home Development

Application proposes townhouse development on Route 34 tract at Allaire Road

An application to build nearly 200 townhomes on a Route 34 tract inched forward on Wednesday when the Board of Adjustment heard from the first witness called for the developer.

The application ran out of its 50-minute time limit and was scheduled to continue on March 20.

K. Hovnanian, of Red Bank, wants to build 199 townhouses on a roughly 37-acre tract on the state highway and Allaire Road. About 20 percent, or 40 of those homes would be reserved for affordable housing, according to the plan.

The property is zoned for office buildings and commercial development, with a small piece zoned for residential development. The developer is asking the board to combine the three zones into one residential zone, allowing for the development.

The Township of Wall objects, arguing that the development runs afoul of the town’s master plan, which does not allow for housing in the Route 34 corridor. The Township Committee has sent its affordable housing attorney, Jeffrey Surenian, to represent the township at the hearing.

But K. Hovnanian plans to argue that the project should be built because it provides needed affordable housing and therefore it is an “inherently beneficial use’’ – a designation normally associated with churches or schools.

The hearing started with a good amount of legal jockeying between the two sides.

K. Hovnanian argued that the township had no standing to object to the development and should not be heard in that capacity. Surenian argued that there were technical issues with K. Hovnanian’s legally required public notice of the hearing, which should call for a postponement.

Both sides were told to stand down by the board’s attorney and the hearing continued.

Testifying for K. Hovnanian was David Fisher, a K. Hov vice president. He was the applicant’s only witness Wednesday.

Fisher, a professional planner, said an idea to develop the Route 34 tract had been kicked around for more than a year. Twice, he said, K. Hov met with township officials with different proposals, mainly consisting of residential development.

Twice, township officials told K. Hov they were not interested, including the last time, in August 2012, when Surenian sent a letter detailing exactly why the township wasn’t interested in the proposal.

His letter, read into the record Wednesday, included objections to residential development in that area and that what K. Hovnanian proposed for affordable housing – at the time, a 10-percent set aside – fell short of the usual 20 percent set aside.

This time, K. Hovnanian brought a plan with the full 20 percent affordable housing component, Fisher said.

Fisher said the townhouses would be 2- and 3-bedroom units of up to 2,200-square feet, with a starting price in the “high $300,000 to mid $400,000’’ range.

The affordable units would be peppered throughout the development, but would be smaller – 1,000 to 1,200 square feet -- and would not be equipped with a garage as the market rate homes would.

Fisher said the development would include a clubhouse and pool area and would have one entrance/exit on Route 34 and two on Allaire Road. He said the development would cover only about 1/3 of the property and that the density would be about 6 units per acre.

“We don’t feel its an intense use of the property,’’ Fisher said.

Allenwoodie February 22, 2013 at 01:37 AM
We would all like that but the applicant has a right to submit an application to appear before the Board of Adjustment. They have a right to be heard.
Stephen Greene February 22, 2013 at 01:50 AM
Right and like any applicant they can be turned down with a simple No. Happens to individuals all the time.
Tom Coyle February 22, 2013 at 01:02 PM
Steady pressure needs to be applied to both the Board of Adjustment and the Township Committee. They need to be constantly reminded that the citizens of Wall are watching every move made by them, as well as by the representatives of KHov. When there is this much money to be made, it is sure to be spread around. Be vigilant.
Dissenting Opinion February 22, 2013 at 02:49 PM
So are Wall residents actually saying that they don't mind quite as much seeing property taxes go for schooling the kids who dwell in 2200sf units but they oppose educating the kids who live in an "affordable" 1000sf unit? I live in a condo that's about 1000sf and let me tell you - it's not space that will accommodate more than 2 occupants. But 2200sf can house a large family quite comfortably. They'll all be paying property taxes based on the size of the unit and land on which the unit sits - just like we all do. I've got no kids but I'm happy for my tax dollars to go toward Town infrastructure development and the education of future generations. I support the creation of new housing and the additional tax dollars that will be generated by the new residents. Should I invest in a bullet proof vest now?
Allenwoodie February 22, 2013 at 10:57 PM
This is not about our taxes going to educate more kids. It's not about low or high income levels. This is about overcrowding the schools and roadways. This is about stopping this traffic nightmare from being approved. This is also about stopping the environmental damage from happening. This property contains wetlands and the headwaters that drain to Hannabrand Brook. Just downstream, this brook runs through Green Acres that taxpayers purchased for preservation purposes. If we allow the farmland upstream of the preserve to be developed we will harm the preserve. All the storm water the currently soaks into the land will be collected along with the oil, fertilizers, pesticides and trash and it will all be discharged into the stream. The banks of the brook will erode and the toxins and trash will float downstream. The toxins and trash will affect the soil, the wildlife and the aesthetics of the preserve. This is not what the taxpayers intended when the land was preserved.

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