Howell planners approve medical offices at Route 33 location


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HOWELL – The members of the Howell Planning Board have approved an application that proposed the construction of medical offices and a café at Colts Neck Road and Route 33.

During a meeting on Jan. 20, Planning Board Chairman Brian Tannanhaus, Vice Chairman Nicholas Huszar, Township Councilwoman Evelyn O’Donnell, Paul Boisvert, Robert Seaman, Joseph Cristiano, Paul Dorato and Brian Greenfield voted “yes” on a motion to grant preliminary and final major site plan approval to the application filed by Pioneer at Howell, LLC.

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Pioneer at Howell proposed to remove existing site improvements and to construct a one-story, 11,550-square-foot building which will contain medical offices and a café at the southwest corner of Colts Neck Road and Route 33. The proposed building is expected to house six tenants.

Parking for 102 vehicles will be provided. The site will be served by one full-movement driveway on Colts Neck Road (left turns and right turns permitted in and out) and one limited movement driveway on Route 33 (right turns in and right turns out).

Attorney Dante Alfieri represented the application at the Jan. 20 meeting.

Engineer Marc Leber said the project began as a planned strip center facing Route 33 before the plan was changed to a two-story office building. The plan has since been modified to develop a one-story structure.

“The applicant acquired additional properties on Colts Neck Road which are all in the same zone, so we revised the plan to incorporate those lots,” he said.

A previous hearing regarding the Pioneer at Howell application was held before the Planning Board on Nov. 4.

On Jan. 20, Leber said changes had been made to the site plan since the previous meeting. He said a row of 13 parking spaces that were facing Route 33 was removed and replaced with a landscape plan for that area.

Planner Joe Fishinger provided planning and traffic testimony on behalf of the applicant.

“As far as the traffic conditions, because of COVID, when we were starting to put together this project we did not want to do new (traffic) counts because we felt they would not be representative.

“So we used counts that had been done from other studies in the area in 2018 and 2019, and then increased them using a background growth rate approved by the New Jersey Department of Transportation up to 2021 to get our existing condition volumes, and then again increased it another three years to get our future volumes,” Fishinger said.

He testified the medical offices are estimated to generate 49 trips in the morning, 56 trips in the evening and 42 trips on Saturday. The café is estimated to generate 243 trips in the morning, 87 trips in the evening and 142 trips on Saturday.

“We assumed no interaction between the two uses (medical offices and café), now in reality, we would assume either some of the employees or patrons of the medical offices would stop in and get a cup of coffee, something like that. We assumed (for traffic count purposes) they are completely different uses, that there would be no interaction or credit in between the two,” Fishinger said.

He said the majority of vehicles heading to the planned uses at the location (the medical offices and the café) would be expected to come from Route 33.

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