Marlboro board will consider plan for housing, commercial uses at Route 79 site

MARLBORO – An application that proposes the construction of 105 housing units and two commercial buildings on Route 79 between Buck Lane and Stevenson Drive is expected to be heard by the Marlboro Planning Board on July 15.

The application submitted by Marlboro Development Group, LLC, involves a 13.7-acre parcel on Route 79. The applicant is proposing to subdivide the property into four lots: one lot for market rate townhouses; one lot for affordable housing rental apartments; and two lots for commercial development.

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

Mayor Jonathan Hornik told the News Transcript the application is the result of a court order stemming from Marlboro’s unresolved affordable housing obligation that dates back to prior administrations.

He said a developer’s initial proposal for the property was 254 market rate housing units plus 38 affordable housing units, for a total of 292 housing units.

Hornik said that through the litigation process, the proposal has been reduced to 85 market rate units plus 20 affordable housing units, for a total of 105 housing units.

The mayor said it is anticipated the market rate townhouses will sell in the $500,000 range and include three bedrooms, three bathrooms and a two-car garage.

“No one wants this development and we fought it as hard as we could,” he said. “We litigated this for 12 years. It’s come down to a judge’s order. The judge made it clear we had to do it. It is the best we can do in a bad situation.”

Hornik said the biggest concern with the Marlboro Development Group’s proposal is traffic. He said a condition of approval for the proposed development would be the construction of a traffic signal at the intersection of Route 79 and Stevenson Drive.

Route 79 is a state highway and is under the jurisdiction of the New Jersey Department of Transportation.

According to the application:

• A 10.7-acre lot would contain 18 three-story buildings with 85 townhouses to be sold at market rates. Each townhouse would have a two-car garage.

According to the application, access to that lot is proposed from Buck Lane and Stevenson Drive.

Stevenson Drive is the access road that leads from Route 79 north to an existing development of single-family homes.

• A lot of slightly less than 1 acre would contain a three-story building with 20 affordable housing rental apartments and 40 parking spaces;

• A 1.1-acre lot would contain an 8,110-square-foot, one-story, multi-tenant commercial building and 42 parking spaces;

• A 1-acre lot would contain a 4,000-square-foot commercial building and 20 parking spaces.

No road connection is proposed between the townhouse portion of the project and either the commercial lots or the affordable housing lot.

Access is proposed on Route 79 and on Stevenson Drive for the commercial parcels and the affordable housing lot, with shared access between the areas.

Residents may participate in the public portion of the application’s July 15 hearing remotely by following instructions provided on the township website.

During the past two weeks, the Marlboro Development Group application has been the subject of more than 100 comments that have been posted on a Facebook page that focuses on Marlboro issues.

A sample of the comments includes the following:

• “All of Marlboro should show up even if you think this doesn’t affect you. The fact that they are trying to slip this in while we’re focused on bigger issues is disgusting. Insult to injury that they rezoned the area for residential after 20 years of it being retail only.”

• “Appalling. I’ll be attending. They should not be building this in our area.”

• “I can only imagine the traffic. It’s horrible now.”

• “For years the land off Route 9 was the town’s dumping ground. Route 79 is the next area to get dumped on. God forbid they build any of this near the McMansions.”

News Transcript Managing Editor Mark Rosman contributed to this article.