Manalapan board grants preliminary approval for 18-home development


MANALAPAN – The Manalapan Planning Board has granted preliminary major subdivision approval to an applicant who plans to construct 18 homes off Lamb Lane.

Board members voted 9-0 to grant the approval during their meeting on July 11. A representative of the Providence Corporation, Princeton, said the applicant could return in six to seven months to seek final approval.

Providence Corporation sought preliminary major subdivision approval with bulk variance relief to develop 84 acres in the R-AG/4 zone on the north side Lamb Lane between Champions Way and Woodville-Smithburg Road.

The application was initially heard by the board on June 13. Several issues remained unresolved that evening and board members asked to applicant to return to clear up those issues.

Attorney Peter Licata and engineer John Ploskonka represented the applicant on July 11.

In a brief review of the unresolved issues, Ploskonka said adjustments were made to several lots. He said that after three variances having to do with steep slopes were initially requested, the plans were revised so only one variance would be required.

He said the road going into the development from Lamb Lane would be 30 feet wide. A sidewalk is not required on the new road, but Ploskonka said the developer would provide a sidewalk on one side of the road.

Several board members had asked for a sidewalk to be constructed on each side of the road.

The board’s engineer, Brian Boccanfuso, said based on the expected trip generation into and out of the development, the road could be built without a sidewalk.

Boccanfuso said the Residential Site Improvement Standards describe the proposed road as a rural road. He said he did not have any issues with the applicant’s request for the variances and design waivers.

The board’s planner, Jennifer Beahm, said, “This (plan) is a better alternative than what we saw last time” and said she had no issue with the revisions Ploskonka outlined.

Ploskonka explained that the applicant has asked the Township Committee for permission to extend public water service to the planned homes. The water would be for domestic use and home fire suppression systems. The water would not be used for irrigation systems, he said. The applicant is awaiting an answer from municipal officials regarding that request.

Licata and Ploskonka acknowledged there is a drainage issue on Lamb Lane and said the developer would work to address that situation.

Deputy Mayor Jack McNaboe, who sits on the board, said, “We are trying to address some drainage issues in the area. This is a chance for the town to get some improvements. I think we can make that issue better in front of your property. Certainly between preliminary and final approval, we can address that.”

Ploskonka agreed the drainage situation could be addressed in the months before the applicant returns to seek final approval from the board.

He previously testified that the 84-acre parcel consists mostly of farmland. He said the applicant was seeking approval to subdivide the tract into 19 new lots: 18 lots ranging in size from 1.5 acres to 15 acres for single-family homes and one lot for a storm water management basin. Among the 18 residential lots, there will be a 12-acre lot, an 11-acre lot and an 8-acre lot.

The zone requires a minimum of 4 acres, but lot size averaging and clustering is permitted in the zone and that is how lots under 4 acres would be accounted for, according to Ploskonka.

Access to the homes would be provided by a road to be constructed from Lamb Lane. There is no access from Woodville-Smithburg Road.

As part of the application, Providence Corporation requested and received bulk variance relief for the minimum front setback on all 18 residential lots for a 60-foot setback where 100 feet is required.

Following the conclusion of Ploskonka’s testimony on July 11, board member John Castronovo made a motion to grant preliminary major subdivision approval to the Providence Corporation application.

On a roll call vote, McNaboe, Castronovo, Chairwoman Kathryn Kwaak, Vice Chairman Todd Brown and board members Rick Hogan, Township Committeeman Barry Jacobson, Daria D’Agostino, Alan Ginsberg and David Kane voted “yes.”