Nursing facility, affordable housing proposed for former Wilson Farm site

The Wilson Farm off of Route 27 in South Brunswick could be converted into a nursing home facility and two senior affordable housing buildings.

SOUTH BRUNSWICK – Applicant Jaynar Construction is seeking preliminary major subdivision and preliminary site plan approval with bulk variances to construct senior affordable housing units and a nursing home on a 17.74-acre site in the Wilson Farm Development zone, located at 3614-3622 Route 27, 3624-3634 Route 27 and 3636-3668 Route 27 in South Brunswick.

No variances are needed, but waivers may be needed to account for lighting and to avoid constructing a pedestrian walkway between the nursing home and residential buildings along Route 27.

According to information presented during the South Brunswick Planning Board meeting on March 3, Lot A is proposed as a three-story, 180-bed, long-term care nursing facility on 5.52 acres on the westerly side.

Licensed architect Steve Cohen said the units will be in wings. Each floor will have 60 units divided into sections of 15. There will be a “meandering spline” to include space for activities and passive recreation, and bridges to connect sections for staff efficiency and residents’ sociability, he said.

The healthcare facility will be secured at all times. Since this is an I-2 use, the facility would be governed by the New Jersey Department of Health and the Department of Community Affairs.

The building will include a dialysis center that would be open to the public. Planning Board members asked for a clarification if that use is acceptable per the development agreement.

There will also be a rehabilitation gym area for residents.

The proposed traffic configurations include a right-in, right-out at the northwest corner from the nursing home area onto Route 27. There would be a dedicated drop-off lane, plus another drop-off area on the east side for patients. There will be a full circulation, one-way clockwise driveway around the building, professional engineer Scott Turner said.

There will be Americans with Disabilities Act-compliant parking spaces in the front parking lot.

Lot B will be one building of the senior affordable housing rental units, on 6 acres in the center of the property. There will be 111 total units: 110 one-bedroom residential units and one three-bedroom unit for the manager.

Cohen said the one-bedroom apartments will have a full bathroom with a shower, a living room and dining room area, a walk-in closet and a full kitchen. Some units will have an extra den. All of the units are ADA-compliant.

The middle lot will have access from Route 27 via a full driveway across from Barbieri Court in Franklin Township. There will be a combined left-through and right turn lane onto Route 27.

A total of 116 parking spaces are planned.

On the west side will be a service driveway.

Lot C will be the second building of the senior affordable housing rental units, on 6 acres on the easterly side. There will be 101 total units: 100 one-bedroom residential units and one three-bedroom unit for the manager.

The easternmost building will have a right-in, right-out access. There are 98 parking spaces planned, but 11 of those spaces will be land banked and developed if needed.

On the east side will be the service driveway, similar to Lot A.

The two managers’ units are not considered affordable housing. Thus, there are 212 residential units proposed across both buildings, 210 of which satisfy affordable housing regulations.

A club building will connect both buildings via a common corridor. There will be an activities room in that center building, Cohen said.

There will be lounges and activity space in each building. There will be patio spaces outside, and open lawn areas for passive recreation.

Ron Shimanowitz, the applicant’s attorney, said South Brunswick owns the property, but an amended redevelopment agreement was reached between the township and Jaynar Construction in January 2020. Jaynar would acquire the site as part of the approval, he said. The property is already part of the township’s affordable housing obligation.

On Oct. 1, 2014, the Planning Board reviewed and recommended designation of the property as an Area in Need of Rehabilitation.

On May 12, 2015, the Township Council adopted an ordinance qualifying Wilson Farm as a rehabilitation area.

The Township Council previously determined that property at 3614-3668 Route 27 (Block 96.24, Lot 24.022) in the Kendall Park section of town is in need of rehabilitation because the majority of the water and sewer infrastructure serving the area is at least 50 years old and in need of repair or substantial improvement, according to Ordinance 2015-12.

The farm has been vacant, but is now wooded from growth.

Joe Stern, of Jaynar Construction, said he has been developing projects since 1975. Since 1977, he has completed developments in South Brunswick such as Brunswick Heights, Whispering Woods and Princeton Walk.

Turner said there will be 1,500 feet of frontage along Route 27. Alston Road is to the east, with commercial and retail uses, plus a gas station. To the west toward Gateway Boulevard are commercial, medical and office spaces. Single-family residences on Barbieri Court are directly across from the project site.

Ten Mile Run is to the south, which is a flood plain, but Turner said there will be a 100-foot buffer. An above-ground detention basis will handle stormwater management and water treatment before being discharged into Ten Mile Run, Turner said.

The applicant has provided 318 parking spaces; 302 parking spaces are required across the entire site, Turner said.

Traffic engineer John Rea said typically, the expectation is for 0.6 to 0.8 cars per residential unit in a senior complex.

Road widening is planned for the site, Turner said, including the left turn in from Route 27, a left turn from Route 27 to Barbieri Court, a paved shoulder on the farm side, and an 8-foot-wide asphalt bike path along Route 27 parallel to the Department of Transportation (DOT) curbing.

In terms of traffic, Rea said a study from Aug. 13, 2020, uses DOT historical data for Route 27 since accurate counts could not be conducted due to the coronavirus pandemic, i.e., presumed less traffic.

Rea said one central driveway would be left-in, left-out, and the two driveways on the ends of the property would be right-in, right-out.

Currently, the left turn onto Barbieri Court has an F level of service according to the DOT, with a delay of 55 seconds during peak morning hours, and a delay of 66 seconds during peak afternoon hours.

However, Rea said this does not account for the gaps in traffic caused by the traffic signals at Alston Road and Gateway Boulevard.

Although board members asked for consideration of a traffic signal on the property, Rea said the property being proposed for development will not generate enough additional traffic to require signalization. He said the nursing home usually operates from 7 a.m. to 3 p.m., which is off-peak; and he said seniors do not generally drive during peak times.

Board member Barry Nathanson said the traffic counts do not account for traffic from the dialysis center.

Rea said he would add those to the nursing home calculations. However, he noted that since dialysis patients usually stay for about four hours, there would not be much turnover in terms of traffic.

However, Rea said he will make the suggestion to the DOT since that state agency has jurisdiction over the state highway.

Although all of the professionals who represent the applicant were able to testify by 11:30 p.m., members of the public did not have a chance to comment.

The date of the next meeting was undetermined as of press time, as board members and the applicant debated if a special meeting could be scheduled ahead of the next proposed meeting on May 5.

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