Cranbury officials and Toll Brothers hold meeting about Petty Road

KATHY CHANG/STAFF

Cranbury residents have voiced their concerns on the reconstruction of Petty Road, while a new housing project is set to be built by Toll Brothers, a home construction company.

Thoughts and concerns came about through an informational presentation in late October with representatives of Toll Brothers.

One of those concerns was the widening of Petty Road, which representatives said will not happen as part of the reconstruction.

“It is said that the road will not be widened as part of the reconstruction. By not widening Petty Road to an appropriate width in 24 months, the road will back to the same state of disrepair,” said Bill Bauder, a resident of Petty Road. “That is squandering the bonus of getting to have this done by Toll Brothers. We have the ability to pave the road to the appropriate width. In 24 months after the construction of the road, the shoulders will fail.”

Cranbury Mayor James Taylor said if Petty Road is widened then there would be a need to get easements.

“People will not willingly sign over land. That means paying for easements and getting them condemned. That is a major legal expense and takes three to five years to settle on average,” Taylor said. “The home values are high, so cost of acquiring land will not be cheap and we have to deal with several property owners.”

He said in that case, Petty Road is in worse shape by being torn up from the sewer line.

“Toll Brothers is no longer here to do the road work, so the $2 million cost not only falls back to the tax payer, but escalates from the inflationary costs. So a project that costs the tax payers nothing, now balloons to $4 million or more,” Taylor said.

Toll Brothers will reconstruct issue plagued Petty Road and improve the road drainage as the company is scheduled to construct a 174-unit age restricted housing project at the Protinick property at the corner of Dey and Petty roads.

“Main installation and the disruption to Petty Road will take three months to construct. There will be local road closures,” Jay Kruse said, a design engineer from ESE Consultants for Toll Brothers. “There will be particular access for residents on Petty Road to make sure residents can get in an out.”

Toll Brothers will submit its application for the planning board to review in a public hearing.

“We are certainly going to move as quickly as possible to get all of our approvals and get started. Unfortunately, improvements do not get started until we have approvals,” said Richard Hoff of Bisgaier Hoff, the attorney representing Toll Brothers. “There is no hearing as of yet set for this project.”

In 2016, Cranbury officials entered into a settlement agreement with the Toll Brothers as part of an affordable housing obligation.

Toll Brothers would purchase the property and build 174 age restricted homes on the property on Dey road.

Cranbury officials said in return two things would happen, one is the town would get a contribution to its affordable housing plan for $3 million and two officials would support company’s earlier efforts to get sewer.

Toll Brothers had determined that due to the agreement to get sewer in Cranbury and the township supporting that process, the homebuilder will lay the sewer down on Petty Road and then it will then go ahead and fix the drainage and reconstruct Petty Road at its expense.

Township officials said prior to the presentation, the homebuilder has offered to do the road repair and sewer line during the summer months due to its concerned about disrupting the school schedule for the children in town for the buses that go down Petty Road.

Petty Road residents have been vocal in the past about the road being in bad shape. The road is an old country road in a part of town where large homes were built.