Nursing facility, affordable housing approved 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 has received approval to build age-restricted affordable housing, a nursing home and a dialysis center off Route 27.

The South Brunswick Planning Board granted preliminary major subdivision and preliminary site plan approval with bulk variances to construct the buildings 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.

Information and expert testimony were presented during Planning Board meetings on March 3, April 28, June 23, and finally on July 7 when the application was approved.

Lot A is proposed as a three-story, 180-bed, long-term care nursing facility on 5.52 acres on the westerly side.

The building will include a 20-bed dialysis center that would be open to the public from 6 a.m. to 11 p.m. Monday to Saturday. Patients are treated in three- to four-hour shifts three days a week. Emergency dialysis on a Sunday would be done at a hospital, typically.

There will also be a rehabilitation gym area for residents.

The proposed traffic configurations include a right-in, right-out access 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 144 parking spaces, including five 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.

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, licensed architect Steve 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 Construction 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 the township 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.

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.

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

Traffic engineer John 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.

Although board members asked for consideration of a traffic signal on the property, Rea said that during a meeting with New Jersey Department of Transportation officials on July 1, DOT is not on board because there is a traffic signal 1,250 feet away at Gateway Boulevard; DOT has signals no less than a half-mile (2,600 feet) apart.

The DOT representatives also said a new traffic signal would only benefit the property, Rea said.

“Certainly if DOT approves the signal we are happy to build it,” Shimanowitz said of the possibility of securing a traffic light in the future.

Many residents who spoke during the public portion of the meeting asked for the property to be kept as open space, but that is not possible due to the redevelopment agreement, officials said.

Baninder Mahabir expressed concern about South Brunswick becoming more like Route 1 in Edison, with more industrial areas and less green space.

David Shultz, who lives in the Highgate Manor nearby, is worried about the development becoming more of a cut-through for motorists.

Before voting on the application, Planning Board member Barry Nathanson asked for the left-turn out to be eliminated from the project, which became a condition of approval.

Nathanson was the lone dissenting vote on the project, which was approved by Jerry Lutin, Ed Salvi, Dennis Weitz, Al Adinolfi, Ken Bierman, Mirza Rizwan Baig, Tarak Patel, Kalpana Patel and Chairman Paul Prodromo.

“These are necessary enhancements to Route 27. We are getting a lot out of this site and we are putting a lot on it,” Bierman said.

Although Prodromo voted “yes,” he said he agreed with Nathanson’s comments about a lack of witnesses for the commercial side of the project, referring specifically to details of the dialysis center.

“The affordable housing and nursing home are, beyond question, an asset to the community,” he said. But the dialysis unit is a “big sticking point.”

The applicant will come back before the board for final site plan approval. At that time, Planning Board members said they expect more details about the dialysis center.

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