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Developer seeks approval for seven homes on Taylors Mills Road

MANALAPAN – A hearing on a developer’s plan to construct seven houses on Taylors Mills Road is expected to resume at the June 28 meeting of the Manalapan Planning Board.

During its meeting on June 14, the board heard testimony from representatives of Milford Estates, LLC. Attorney Peter H. Klouser represented the applicant and presented testimony from Walter Hopkin, who is an engineer and planner. The applicant is seeking preliminary subdivision approval from the board.

Milford Estates is proposing to develop the 5.46-acre property with seven homes in Manalapan’s R-20 residential zone (half-acre zoning). Residences are a permitted use in the zone. Hopkin described the property as being 1,500 feet west of Route 9, with 730 feet of frontage on Taylors Mills Road.

One side of the Milford Estates property is bordered by Ike’s Lane, which is a non-public road. Testimony indicated there are several residences on Ike’s Lane at some distance from Taylors Mills Road.

“There will not be any disturbance of or encroachment on wetlands that are at the rear of our property, but not on our property,” Hopkin said.

Hopkin said each “oversized” home would be set back 75 feet from Taylors Mills Road and have a walk-out basement, a two-car garage and a turnaround area on the driveway so drivers will not have to back out onto Taylors Mills Road.

The seven homes would be served by public water and sewer. No new roads are proposed because all seven homes would be on Taylors Mills Road. Hopkin said the lots would range from 30,900 square feet to about 40,000 square feet (about 1 acre).

CME Associates, the engineering firm which represents the Planning Board, has identified topographical issues on the property that the applicant and the firm are working to address, according to the testimony.

Representatives of the applicant and the board discussed the property’s water table and how that issue could impact the developer’s plan to include a basement in each home. Testimony indicated the water table issue would be addressed if the applicant receives preliminary approval and before it returns to seek final approval at some point in the future.

Township Committeeman David Kane, who sits on the board, asked why, given the issues with the property’s water table, the developer does not leave the basements out of the plan.

Hopkin said basements are in demand for homes in the area.

Kane suggested that larger lots and fewer homes might be more palatable.

Mayor Jack McNaboe, who sits on the board, said that in order to install utilities to the homes, if the homes are approved, Taylors Mills Road would have to be opened, possibly on more than one occasion. He suggested the road openings would cause an inconvenience to the public and asked the applicant’s representatives to attempt to minimize the number of road openings that would be required.

And, McNaboe said he needs additional information about the part of the developer’s plan that calls for Ike’s Lane, a portion of which is on the developer’s property, to be made slightly narrower. McNaboe reminded all parties there is a need to provide access for emergency vehicles to the homes on Ike’s Lane.

“Thank you for giving us a chance to work on a solution” for Ike’s Lane, Klouser said to the mayor.

During public comment, Mario Lalima, of Ike’s Lane, described the path as being “very narrow. The garbage truck has to drive backward down the road because there is no place for it to turn around. It is very unsafe.”

Lalima, a 40-year resident of the township, said, “I am not against the (developer’s) project. I want it to be an improvement for Manalapan. I don’t want it to have a negative impact on myself or my neighbors. I just want to make sure we consider other people. I just wanted to point out how tight that area is.”

In response to a question, Lalima acknowledged he owns a business on Ike’s Lane and said commercial vehicles use the path. He also said there is an active farm there as well.

One suggestion offered during the discussion was to make the property of the home that is proposed to border Ike’s Lane a bit smaller so Ike’s Lane may be provided with an appropriate width. The matter was not resolved on June 14.

Milford Estates has not requested any variance relief, but is seeking design waiver relief for lot size relative to the inclusion of basements and the existing conditions of the property, and design waiver relief regarding grading and slopes.

The application is expected to resume on June 28.

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