Pinebrook Crossing wins preliminary approval from Manalapan planning board

MANALAPAN – A proposed residential development that will contain a mix of market rate housing and affordable housing has received preliminary approval from the Manalapan Planning Board.

During a meeting on March 25, board Chairwoman Kathryn Kwaak and board members Barry Fisher, Todd Brown, Rick Hogan, John Castronovo, Daria D’Agostino, Alan Ginsberg, Township Committeeman Barry Jacobson and Mayor Jack McNaboe voted “yes” on a motion granting approval to K. Hovnanian at Manalapan V, LLC.

The company proposed building Pinebrook Crossing at Wilson Avenue and Sobechko Road in Manalapan. K. Hovnanian was represented by attorney Salvatore Alfieri, who described Pinebrook Crossing as a 250-unit residential subdivision in a zone that was created as a result of Manalapan’s affordable housing settlement.

One portion of the Pinebrook Crossing property borders a residential development that includes Dortmunder Drive. Another portion of the property borders a business zone on Pension Road near the corner of Sobechko Road. The site is across from the Englishtown Auction Sales at the corner of Wilson Avenue and Sobechko Road.

Previous testimony indicated there will be 175 townhomes to be sold at market rates. Each townhome would have three bedrooms, a two-car garage and a two-car driveway.

The developer is proposing 75 two-bedroom and three-bedroom condominiums in five buildings to be sold as affordable housing to individuals whose income meets certain guidelines. Most of those units would have a one-car garage and a one-car driveway.

During previous meetings, the parking spaces that were proposed at Pinebrook Crossing were a matter of concern for several board members.

During the March 25 meeting, David Fisher, representing K. Hovnanian, said, “We took a careful look at the parking in light of the comments that were made. We have submitted a revised plan with 25 additional parking spaces throughout the site.”

Brian Boccanfuso, who is the board’s engineer, said the standards that apply to the proposed development require 573 parking spaces and K. Hovnanian has proposed 814 parking spaces. Boccanfuso took no issue with the 25 additional spaces Fisher said the developer would provide at Pinebrook Crossing.

Castronovo, who addressed the parking issues during previous meetings, said, “I know people who live in these types of developments and parking is a disaster. The unit owners and tenants are going to use the ‘off-street’ (non-garage, non-driveway) parking spaces.

“The developer is in compliance with the standards, but reality is something else. Ten years from now the township is going to be hearing from residents to enforce parking, when the township cannot do anything,” Castronovo said.

Planner Allison Coffin, testifying on behalf of K. Hovnanian, provided testimony regarding variances the applicant was seeking for several decks that encroached on a buffer zone, signs and a fence at one location on the property. In the end, the board granted the requested variances.

When the meeting was opened to public comment, several residents of Dortmunder Drive addressed the board.

Resident Michael Malizioso expressed concern about the number of vehicles Pinebrook Crossing would have and said, “This area (of Manalapan) is going to be a hard place to get around.”

Malizioso questioned whether the presence of new vehicles would inhibit the ability of emergency response vehicles to reach people in need in a timely manner.

John Rea, who provided testimony on behalf of the applicant regarding traffic, said, “This project has been designed with multiple access points that are sufficient. I understand the concerns people have based on what they have seen in their (existing) developments.”

Resident Vadym Nazarchuk said families who live on Dortmunder Drive will be negatively affected by Pinebrook Crossing.

“Our privacy and safety will be affected. This (development) will be a disadvantage for us” in terms of property values, Nazarchuk said.

Resident Gennadiy Vasilevskiy asked if Pinebrook Crossing could be constructed with fewer houses.

“We came to an agreement with the township regarding affordable housing,” Fisher responded. “The number of affordable housing units (75) to be constructed relates to the number of market rate units (175) and the size of the proposed development.”

Following 75 minutes of public comment and discussion, a motion was made and passed to grant K. Hovnanian preliminary approval. The developer will have to resolve several issues when it seeks final approval for Pinebrook Crossing from the board.