Jackson zoning board approves site plan for townhomes on Harmony Road

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JACKSON – The members of the Jackson Zoning Board of Adjustment have granted preliminary and final major site plan approval to an application that proposed the construction of 202 townhouses on Harmony Road.

The zoning board approved a use variance for the applicant, Hyson Estates LLC/Grand Harmony, in February 2020.

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The applicant returned this year to seek site plan approval. Testimony was provided on Aug. 18 and the application was carried to the board’s Oct. 20 meeting, when testimony concluded and site plan approval was granted.

Following the conclusion of testimony, a motion was made to grant preliminary and final major site plan approval and board members James Hurley, Toniann Comello, Michelle Russell, Lynne Bradley and Steve Costanzo voted “yes” on the motion.

The 202 units will be spread among 10 buildings with 10 townhouses; six buildings with eight townhouses; and nine buildings with six townhouses. Testimony provided by the applicant’s representatives indicated there will be 92 two-bedroom townhouses and 110 three-bedroom townhouses. They said 40 units will be designated as affordable housing.

Affordable housing is defined as housing that is sold or rented at below-market rates to individuals and families whose income meets certain guidelines. New Jersey municipalities are under court order to provide opportunities for the development of affordable housing within their borders.

Attorney Adam Pfeffer and engineer Bill Stevens represented the applicant during the Oct. 20 meeting.

Stevens said the parking plan has been revised to ensure there will be enough parking in the development. He noted there had been a discussion about that issue in August.

Initially, the proposed driveway for each market rate unit was 18 feet wide and each townhouse had a two-car garage and a two-car driveway.

Each driveway has been widened to 20 feet so every market rate unit now provides 3.5 off-street parking spaces where 2.5 spaces are required, Stevens said.

In regard to on-street parking, the applicant proposed 32-foot-wide roads in the development.

“That is being done on purpose to allow for an open area and to allow for parking on either side of the street where it is available. However, based upon the site plan … there are admittedly limited opportunities for on-street parking. However, we would wish to continue to be allowed to have on-street parking where it is available, but it is not included in our parking tabulations,” Stevens said.

The project requires 494 parking spaces. The applicant is providing 711 parking spaces.

The affordable housing units will be in the center of the 10-unit buildings.

“Those units each have one parking stall in front of the unit itself. The (residents) would then use off-street parking elsewhere at the site for any (other vehicles) they might have.

“The board was concerned about the location of some of the off-street parking we have provided. So we went in and revised the plan to add additional off-street parking in the vicinity of the 10-unit buildings to address that particular concern,” Stevens said.

There will be a clubhouse in the development with 44 parking spaces.

“The parking provided is in excess of what is required for the clubhouse, but it is frankly our hope and design for this project that it is made to be a walkable-friendly project.

“We think it is a special project and we hope people are going to use the walking trails we have added into this project and that parking at the clubhouse will only be used under unusual circumstances,” Stevens said.

As part of the application, improvements will be made on Harmony Road in regard to sidewalks and curbs, according to the testimony provided.

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