Bordentown Township planners approve development along Route 206


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More affordable housing units are planned to be built in Bordentown Township along Route 206.

That was the result of the Bordentown Township Planning Board’s recent ruling.

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The board approved the construction of a residential development.

The decision came from township officials when the planning board held a special meeting on May 30 where the members approved preliminary and final site plans that included a subdivision with variances and waives for the construction of a residential development behind the Goodwill thrift store and Jaron’s Furniture Store on Nissim Avenue.

The applicant Larken Associates, LLC, submitted plans to construct a development that would consist of 272 residential living units spread out among seven apartment buildings.

The applicant said three of the seven apartment buildings will be four-story structures and comprise 176 of the 272 total living units while four buildings will be three-story structures and comprise the remaining 96 living units.

The applicant’s professionals also said the submitted plans comprise 40 affordable housing units (included in the total 272 units) to be spread out among the seven apartment buildings as part of the township’s state requirements to comply with affordable housing mandates put in place by the Fair Share Housing Association.

Affordable housing is defined as housing that is sold or rented at below market rates to individuals and families whose income meets certain guidelines.

Township officials said that this planned development is one of multiple affordable housing development projects in the township that are in the process of seeking approval or have already been granted approval for site plans from the zoning and planning board.

The applicant’s professionals reported that the development would consist of a private community center with a pool, playground and recreational picnic area as well.

Given that the proposed development is sited on property located directly behind two commercial businesses, president and CEO of Larken Associates David Gardner provided testimony at the meeting to detail the applicant’s aims for the site.

After an agreement was made between the applicant and the commercial property owners to consolidate lots on the site to provide an access point to the residential development site, Gardner said that the applicant also plans to work with the commercial owners to “clean up” and improve the site as well.

“When we originally started [on the project], we were focused 100% on the residential component,” Gardner explained. “But we are also a developer, owner and manager of residential and commercial properties, and we wanted to own the commercial properties also to control the whole access [to the site] and get that all cleaned up because we are making such a large investment into the residential [property].”

“Our intention is to make that entry-way feel like it’s going to be a luxury apartment job behind it,” Gardner said.

Although the township’s professionals said that the applicant has worked to comply with the municipality’s requirements for the development in order to grant approval for the project, several residents voiced their concerns at the meeting during the public comment session due to traffic issues near Nissim Ave.

Township residents explained that there is allegedly frequent vehicle congestion along a jug handle turn at the intersection of Rt. 206 and Carmen Avenue.

Although residents said they were concerned that the proposed development would further congest this intersection, the applicant’s traffic engineer Jay Trautman said that there would not be a “significant impact” at the intersection during peak traverse points through the area such as morning and evening rush hours.

“We did submit our study to New Jersey Department of Transportation and all of our calculations, and they had no comments on any of the capacity calculations,” Trautman reported. “They did not see any violations of their standards of two traffic signals impacting.

“In terms of getting site traffic in at the Carmen Avenue jug handle, there is plenty of capacity. There is about a one car every three minutes coming in through that jug handle,” Trautman added.

Following additional testimony from the applicant’s professionals a motion was made by the board members to approve and passed to grant approval for the applicant’s site plans.

Moments before the board members granted approval for the site, the applicant’s attorney Ronald Shimanowitz, said that the proposed development would serve as a benefit to the township at this site.

“It is a very giant first step towards sprucing up an area that certainly needs it as well as fulfilling the intent of the town’s affordable housing agreement,” Shimanowitz said.

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