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Manalapan residents raise concerns about proposed subdivision

MANALAPAN — Discussion regarding the proposed subdivision of property on Route 537 is expected to continue at the 7:30 p.m. May 26 meeting of the Manalapan Planning Board that will be conducted in person at the municipal building.

Initial testimony regarding an application submitted by Elton Point Partnership was heard during a meeting that was conducted in a virtual manner on April 14.

The applicant is represented by attorney Peter Licata, engineer John Ploskonka and planner Allison Coffin. The applicant is seeking preliminary subdivision approval from the board. At a later time the applicant plans to propose to construct five homes at the site.

The 24-acre property in Manalapan where the five-home subdivision is proposed is on Route 537 across from a small lot in Freehold Township where JB’s Diner is expected to be rebuilt, at the intersection of Route 524 (Elton-Adelphia Road). The 24-acre parcel in Manalapan surrounds a business that sells heavy equipment.

According to Ploskonka, four homes would be constructed west of the heavy equipment business and share common driveways that would have two access points on Route 537. The fifth home would be built east of the heavy equipment business at the corner of Route 537 and Shira Lane, with its driveway on Shira Lane. Each home would be served by a septic system and a well.

Ploskonka said the homes are planned to have four bedrooms and a two-car garage. More details about the homes would be provided if the applicant receives subdivision approval and returns before the board to seek site plan approval.

The five proposed home lots range in size from 4.24 acres to 5.26 acres, according to testimony offered by Coffin. She described the property as “an extremely irregularly shaped lot.” The minimum lot size for a home in the zone is 4 acres.

Coffin said several variances would be requested due to topographical issues on the property. She said the proposed residential use and the proposed density are permitted in the zone.

Christine Bell, the planner representing the Planning Board, said she had no significant objections to the points Coffin offered as testimony.

When the meeting was opened to public comment, several residents of the Elton Point residential development, which surrounds the 24-acre parcel on which the five homes are proposed, offered their views and concerns.

The board members and their professionals heard from residents Frank Amato, Michael Maysilles, Wade Morris, June Duck and others.

Each resident who addressed the board and the applicant’s representatives expressed concern about environmental issues at the site and in the vicinity, including standing water, drainage and the flow of water.

Regarding the issue of standing water, Maysilles said, “We are constantly treating for insects.”

Duck said she does not object to new homes being constructed, but is concerned about how the view from her home would be impacted.

After listening to the residents’ concerns for the better part of an hour, several board members concluded there are unanswered environmental questions that will require the presentation of additional information.

Licata said the applicant’s representatives would meet with the residents of Shira Lane at the Route 537 property to gain more specific information about what is occurring at and near that property.

Township Committeeman Jack McNaboe, who sits on the Planning Board, said he wants more answers even though the applicant is only seeking preliminary subdivision approval at this time.

McNaboe asked Licata, Coffin and Ploskonka to look at all of the environmental issues that had been raised “so we can make our best decision.”

No decision on the Elton Point Partnership’s application for subdivision approval was reached on April 14 and the application was carried to the board’s May 26 meeting.

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