Opinion: Townhomes are not suitable for former restaurant site in Edison

moodboard

As are many Edison residents, I am very concerned about and object to the proposed development on the former Charlie Brown’s Steakhouse site located at 222 Plainfield Road.

The proposed 23 townhouses do not conform to the property or the community. The plan is against Edison’s Master Plan and zoning codes, and requires numerous variances as proof.

The only person who will benefit from this injustice is the developer and my fear is children are being put in danger for his profits.

The parcel is only 2 acres and is located in close proximity to two township public schools, Woodbrook Elementary School and Woodrow Wilson Middle School. Children travel by foot and bicycle twice daily past the property to and from school.

The traffic is already heavy and hazardous in the area. Plainfield Road is narrow, has an incline that causes a blindspot, and an accelerated speed limit at the Edison border. In addition, commuters frequently speed through adjacent streets to avoid the Plainfield Road traffic signals. The accidents in the area are frequent with the most recently being less than a week prior to the June 29 Zoning Board meeting.

The proposed development will inevitably cause more traffic and accidents and risk neighbors’ privacy.

These homeowners purchased their homes with the knowledge this property was zoned for a golf course and shouldn’t be cheated.

The developer’s plan for three-story townhouses with balconies will tower over them and steal their privacy. If allowed, the townhouses will be the tallest buildings in the single-family residential community.

Edison homeowners who pay taxes deserve their privacy and the right to be heard.

I applaud the developer’s selection of his paid expert witnesses and their audacity to state the development will only minorly affect the traffic, seven public school students will be residents, and the aged infrastructure will not be negatively impacted. If this was accurate, 69 bedrooms and 61 parking spaces (not including garages and parking pads) would not be planned.

I understand the Zoning Board and the Board of Education are separate entities, but Edison public schools are overcrowded by almost 600 students. The existing infrastructure was designed to service a restaurant, during limited hours with a fluctuating occupancy. Furthermore, the restaurant was not operational while students walked/biked past before school and dismissal occurred between the lunch and dinner rush.

To officials: I beg you to do everything in your power to assist your constituents to stop the developer from benefitting from taxpayers who elected you. Most importantly, help us to keep our children from being killed on their way to school.

I am one of over 250 Edison residents who banned together in opposition within a 48-hour period on Facebook and WhatsApp. It is anticipated our ranks will grow to 1,000-plus by the July 27 zoning meeting. Many of us attended the June 29 Zoning Board meeting, but only a small percentage of us were able to vocalize our concerns/opposition, before the near midnight meeting closing.

We deserve the right to be heard and respectfully request that the July 27 meeting be on Zoom to allow social distancing for the expected crowd.

Please, join us in our fight to help the Charlie Brown’s Steakhouse neighbors to retain their quality of life and keep their children safe. Please, know we have no intentions on retreating and are prepared to take all legal avenues to prevent this poor excuse of a development plan from being built.

 

Gail Lamoreaux

Edison