Developer concludes testimony on Four Seasons at Manalapan Brook

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MANALAPAN – Representatives of K. Hovnanian Shore Acquisitions have concluded their presentation of a proposed 140-home adult community on Route 33 and are awaiting a vote by members of the Manalapan Planning Board.

Board members are expected to deliberate the case on April 26 and vote on K. Hovnanian’s application.

Testimony regarding the proposed Four Seasons at Manalapan Brook continued at the board’s March 22 meeting. The company was represented by attorney Gerald Sonnenblick, K. Hovnanian Vice President of Governmental Affairs David Fisher, landscape architect Jason Tronco, traffic engineer John Rea, engineer Raymond Papa and planner Joseph Layton.

K. Hovnanian is seeking to develop the age-restricted homes and a clubhouse off Route 33 westbound, just west of the Knob Hill residential community and golf course. An adult community is a permitted use in Manalapan’s Special Economic Development zone on Route 33 where a senior housing overlay was enacted by a municipal ordinance.

During his testimony on March 22, Fisher said several items had been addressed since the previous meeting at which the development was discussed.

The changes include the redesign of berms along the Route 33 frontage that now meet the requirements of Manalapan’s green belt ordinance; the installation of a generator at the clubhouse that will provide power during a power outage; the installation of benches on the community’s walking trail; an investigation of a neighboring property to check for old underground utilities; the insertion of language in certain documents to notify prospective buyers of the neighboring Quail Hill Boy Scout camp; and the insertion of language in certain documents to prohibit the conversion of a home’s garage to living space.

In addition, Fisher said K. Hovnanian’s representatives researched a request made by Mayor Jack McNaboe, who sits on the board, to consider the use of solar power at the clubhouse.

Fisher said solar panels can be installed on a portion of the clubhouse roof and will provide power to some facilities in the building as a means of supplementing the use of electricity from the power grid that will supply the development.

Tronco, of Melillo and Bauer Associates, Landscape Architects, said the berms on Route 33 on either side of the development’s entry boulevard will be between 5 feet and 6 feet tall and have evergreens planted on top. He said the development’s walking path will be developed with a combination of shade trees and ornamental trees. Tronco said K. Hovnanian expects to remove about 1,230 trees during construction and to replace that loss by planting 1,270 trees throughout the site.

Papa, of Najarian Associates, described certain items for which the developer is seeking a variance. The items relate to slopes on the property, the manner in which water is carried away from roofs, and retaining walls. The board’s engineer, James Winckowski, said he did not have any objections to granting the requested relief.

In describing the proposed development, Papa said Four Seasons at Manalapan Brook “is a much more walkable development than (the nearby) Four Seasons at Manalapan. This (proposed) development is not divided by a stream corridor.”

Papa said K. Hovnanian will meet Manalapan’s lot size and setback requirements. He said each building lot will be at least 7,000 square feet (the requirement is 6,000 square feet).

Previous testimony indicated the 140 single-family homes will range in size from 2,100 to 2,900 square feet without a loft and from 3,400 to 3,500 square feet with a loft. Each home will have a two-car garage and a two-car driveway.

In discussing the impact Four Seasons at Manalapan Brook will have on traffic, Rea said most residents of adult communities are not traveling during morning and afternoon peak times. He said there will be approximately one vehicle per minute entering and exiting the development. Only right turns out and right turns in will be permitted to and from Route 33.

Motorists who want to head east on Route 33 will exit the adult community onto Route 33 west, travel about a quarter-mile and make a U turn by using the jughandle at Iron Ore Road to reach Route 33 east.

Motorists heading east on Route 33 who want to reach Four Seasons at Manalapan Brook will make a U turn at a lightly used jughandle that is about a half-mile east of Woodville Road and access Route 33 west in order to enter the development, according to Rea.

Rea testified the development’s 28-foot-wide roads would accommodate emergency vehicles, garbage trucks and other vehicles. He said the exact access point to the adult community would be subject to approval from the state Department of Transportation.

Layton wrapped up the presentation and asked for relief for two signs. The entry sign is proposed to be 90 square feet in size where 80 square feet is permitted, and the clubhouse sign represents a second ground sign where one ground sign is permitted.

Layton said there would not be a negative impact on surrounding properties if the board grants the relief for the signs. The property is bordered by a commercial development to the west, the Quail Hill Scout Camp to the north and the Knob Hill residential community to the east. There is an industrial park across Route 33 from the proposed Four Seasons at Manalapan Brook location.

“This is a well thought out, well planned community. I believe it is very attractive,” Layton said.

Left unresolved was the question of the number of homes to be built at the time when the clubhouse must be constructed. McNaboe said he does not want a situation to occur in which dozens of homes are sold and occupied with the new residents unable to use the promised amenities. The board and the developer indicated they would work to resolve that issue.

During public comment and in regard to the Quail Hill Scout Camp, James Phillips, vice president, camping and properties, with the Boy Scouts of America, Monmouth Council, said, “the Monmouth Council supports this project based on the changes and recommendations that were made tonight.”

In addition to notifying prospective residents about the neighboring Boy Scout camp, K. Hovnanian’s representatives said that as the company constructs the adult community, it would provide landscaping on the Boy Scout property to fill in areas of sparse vegetation.

Board members did not deliberate on the developers’ requests for the variances and waivers on March 22. The application was carried to the board’s April 26 meeting.