Developer proposes senior living facility on Route 36 parcel in Eatontown

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A vacant property at the southwest corner of Route 36 and Wyckoff Road in Eatontown has been focused as a potential site for a three-story senior living congregate care and assisted living facility.

Testimony regarding Brightview Eatontown, LLC’s application to construct a 177-unit senior living facility was presented during a meeting of the Eatontown Zoning Board of Adjustment on May 13.

The applicant is seeking variances to construct a 73,426-square-foot Brightview Senior Living facility on a vacant parcel across from the Monmouth Mall, which is at the intersection of Route 35 and Route 36.

According to a legal notice that was published prior to the zoning board meeting, the applicant is seeking use and bulk variance relief to develop the 8.45-acre site with an age-restricted building, as well as driveways, parking, storm water management facilities, lighting and landscaping.

Answering questions posed by attorney Jennifer S. Krimko, who represents the applicant, David Holland, vice president of Brightview Senior Living, described the nature of the rental facility, which would be for individuals age 62 and older.

Holland said the proposed facility would house 86 congregate care units, 56 assisted living units and 35 dementia care units.

Krimko said 10% of the units would be set aside for Medicaid patients and would help fulfill Eatontown’s affordable housing obligation.

Communal areas such as a library, art studio, theater, pub and multi-purpose room are proposed, Holland said, explaining that the “robust” age-restricted facility “is not a nursing home.”

The proposed facility will have several floor plans, Holland said, noting that engineers “reduced the scale of the building” to accommodate requests made by residents who live near the site. A section of the proposed building near a neighboring development has been reduced to one story, he said.

The three-story section of the proposed facility will be constructed at the front of the building which is facing Route 36, Holland explained. He then commented that  “we tried to be very sensitive to the design.”

“Our intention is to be long-term contributing members to Eatontown. We strive to be good neighbors,” Holland said.

If the application is approved, Holland said, between 110 and 130 full-time and part-time employees will be hired. He said 40 to 50 employees would work at the facility at a time. He testified that 155 parking spaces are proposed toward the front of the building near Route 36 and Wyckoff Road.

Mark Whitaker of Dynamic Engineering Consultants, testifying on behalf of the applicant, said the 8.45-acre property is undeveloped. He said 60,000 square feet of the lot (approximately 1.5 acres) is a regulated flood hazard area and cannot be developed.

Whitaker said the property is zoned for residential use and said a use variance is required to construct a facility that is not a specifically permitted use. Two driveways leading in and out of the property and an emergency grass access route around the perimeter of the building are also proposed, he said.

Whitaker said residents who live near the site of the proposed facility would rather have landscape buffers rather than a chain link fence that is proposed at the property.

Justin Taylor, a traffic engineer at Dynamic Engineering Consultants, reported that the proposed facility would generate between 25 and 35 vehicles during peak commuting hours, “partially because most of the (future) residents don’t drive.”

Taylor said his study took into account the new volume of vehicles that may be traveling through the area once redevelopment at the Monmouth Mall is complete.

He explained that the property “could be constructed with a school, which has the potential to generate between 200 to 400 more cars than what we are actually proposing. From a traffic standpoint, (Brightview Senior Living) has a lower impact over what actually could be developed at the site (without a variance),” Taylor said.

Residents had an opportunity to ask questions and state their concerns about the application.

Resident Sara Breslow said noise “is a huge concern for residents who live nearby.”

Whitaker responded, saying, “the largest noise generator for a facility would be the noise on Route 36 which occurs continuously … The orientation of this building will actually probably provide a better noise attenuation (reduction) than what is there now. Trees are not really an attenuator of noise dissonances. When you have a solid building between residential backyards and Route 36, that would probably be the best buffer.”

Resident Edward Dlugosz, who chairs the Eatontown Environmental Commission, asked what could happen to wildlife if construction were to take place at the property.

Whitaker said the construction would have a minimal impact on wildlife. He said “species like deer and gophers relocate when development comes through.”

The public hearing on the Brightview Senior Living application is expected to continue at the May 29 zoning board meeting.