The Florence Township Planning Board passed a resolution that memorialized the approval for development of apartments, retail space and a hotel at the intersection of Route 130 and Cedar Lane.
The legislative action from the board members came at a June 25 meeting after the they unanimously approved the project at a May 28 meeting.
The applicant proposing to develop the site, Weiss Properties, LLC, said the development is planned to consist of an inclusionary apartment development with 10 buildings that will encompass 92 (one-bedroom) units, 140 (two-bedroom) units and eight (three-bedroom) units.
The residential development will include a clubhouse, retention pond and recycling center. The plan also proposes a 104-room Marriott Hotel and either a 6,000-square-foot restaurant or retail store located next to it.
Richard Hoff, the applicant’s attorney, explained that this project has been going on for multiple years and is the subject of the 2017 Weiss Redevelopment Plan.
He reported that this is a mixed-use project that will contain a residential component as well as a hotel and retail use with significant roadway improvements in the area that “will be a vast improvement to the conditions today.”
At the May 28 planning board meeting, the applicant’s project engineer, Robert Stout, explained that the property consists of four lots, which they proposed to consolidate into three lots.
Stout explained that the three proposed lots would consist of the commercial component and a two-phase development plan for the residential component. He said the residential component will be encompass 10 residential buildings consisting of 24 units each (240 units total).
He explained that that the 240 units will be made up of eight (three-bedroom) units, 140 (two-bedroom) units and 92 (single-bedroom) units. The professional said 15% of the units will be designated affordable housing units.
Stout also said there are two separate components to this application: commercial and residential. The commercial component consists of three acres of property. The largest building on the property is designated to be a 104-room, four-story Marriott Hotel.
The professionals said that the tenant next to the hotel is unknown at this time, but is anticipated to be a restaurant of some sort. Stout explained, that although there is no end user for the retail component at this time, the footprint presented at the May meeting will be the footprint.
If there is any significant change to that footprint or its square footage, the project engineer explained the applicant would have to come back to the board.
The applicant’s professionals also explained that they are working with the New Jersey Department of Transportation (DOT) for the acquisition of land it owns at the corner of the lot that borders Route 130 North and Cedar Lane for the installation of a roundabout on Cedar Lane.
The applicant’s professionals said this first phase of construction would be the section along Cedar Lane toward a self-storage facility on the adjacent site and will create an access off Route 130.
Stout explained that this potential access is part on an ongoing DOT application, and the developer will construct improvements along the DOT right-of-way and Cedar Lane. Over the past few months, Stout said that the applicant has met with the township, the county and the DOT several times to develop a plan in regards to the access.
The applicant’s professionals said they are proposing to construct a roundabout on Cedar Lane, which will align Hunt Circus Drive and the main access to the proposed development, and create a four-way intersection to allow a fluid flow of travel.
Matthew Seckler, the applicant’s traffic engineer, said that one of the key components of this site is to eliminate the forward jughandle into the intersection of route 130 and Cedar Lane.
He explained that the applicant has been working with DOT for several years now to improve this intersection. After looking at various solutions, the county and state decided the roundabout on Cedar Lane was the best solution.
Seckler explained that vehicles looking to turn left off of Route 130 or to go to Wawa could travel approximately 500 feet on Cedar Lane to the roundabout, proceed the entire way around the roundabout and back up towards Route 130 to either enter Wawa or be able to cross over Route 130.
“It is designed to support the volumes of today and for even more volume,” Seckler said.
The planning board members made a motion to approve the application and passed it at the May meeting, which was memorialized by the township council in June.