Boulder Ridge gets go-ahead with final changes approved

By Peter Elacqua
Staff Writer

HOWELL – A residential development that was initially proposed as an adult community, then switched to a project for people of all ages, will now proceed as originally proposed: an age-restricted community.

Boulder Ridge has been approved for a 72-acre site on the north side of Route 33, about 1,350 feet west of Route 34 in Howell.

During a recent meeting, Planning Board members Paul Schneider, Mayor William Gotto, Deputy Mayor Robert Nicastro, Thomas Boyle, Kenneth French, Thomas O’Donnell, Thomas Russo and Brian Tannenhaus approved several amendments in the Boulder Ridge plan.

The applicant was represent by attorney John Giunco and traffic engineer Jeff Fiore.

The Boulder Ridge project has a history that dates back almost a decade.

In July 2008, Boulder Ridge was granted preliminary subdivision and site plan approval by the board to subdivide the property into 176 lots; 171 single-family homes in an age-restricted development, one lot for commercial development, one lot for a recreation area/clubhouse, two lots for storm water management and one lot for open space.

Demand eventually waned for age-restricted housing and in May 2010, Boulder Ridge received approval from the board to convert the adult community into a development for people of all ages. In conjunction with that approval, the applicant proposed to reduce the size of the clubhouse, among other changes.

The development was never constructed and the housing market shifted once more.

In July 2015, Boulder Ridge was granted amended preliminary and final site plan and major subdivision approval to convert the proposed development back to an adult community with 154 homes, four lots for open space and one lot for a clubhouse/recreation area.

During the applicant’s most recent appearance before the board, its representatives sought and received approval to reconfigure the subdivision’s layout following comments from the New Jersey Department of Environmental Protection and the New Jersey Department of Transportation (DOT).

An access drive has been slightly modified and nine residential lots previously fronting on that access drive have been relocated. An additional residential lot has been added which brings the total to 155 homes, plus four open space lots and one lot for a clubhouse/recreation area.

Storm water management basins have been modified, including the elimination of a previously approved basin on the clubhouse/recreation lot. The pump station access drive has been relocated from along Route 33 to an access from the clubhouse/recreation lot parking area.

A proposal for the installation of a traffic signal on Route 33 at either of the access drives for Boulder Ridge has been denied by the DOT. Board members had an issue with the lack of a traffic signal at the Route 33 access point.

Fiore said DOT staff determined that a traffic signal was not warranted on Route 33 at Boulder Ridge based on the amount of traffic that is anticipated at the location.

DOT staff requested a left turn lane from Route 33 eastbound into Boulder Ridge.

“Based on the amount of traffic that is exiting (Boulder Ridge), the resulting level of service and the available site distance, along with the fact that (the developer) can provide signs at the intersection, I think the (development’s) driveway will operate at an acceptable level of service and operate safely and efficiently,” Fiore said.

There will be an 8-foot wide shoulder on the westbound side of Route 33. A sign will be posted in the development warning drivers who are leaving Boulder Ridge to use caution when making a left turn onto Route 33 eastbound.