Millstone planners take issue with aspects of Hexa Builders application


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MILLSTONE – Testimony regarding an application that proposes a residential development consisting of market rate and affordable housing in Millstone Township continued during a special meeting of the Planning Board on June 29, but no vote on the project was taken that evening.

During the meeting, members of the board questioned the applicant’s representatives on a number of items, including plans for the development’s water and sewer systems.

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Hexa Builders, LLC, is seeking preliminary and final major site plan approval to construct a development at 711 Perrineville Road, Millstone Township, near Route 571 and the border of East Windsor. The application proposes the construction of 170 residential units.

Prior to June 29, the application was heard on March 9 and May 11. Attorney John Giunco represents Hexa Builders.

The Hexa Builders application has now been carried to the board’s July 13 meeting, although it may not be heard that evening. Instead, the board may announce the date of another special meeting on which the application will be heard.

Representatives of Hexa Builders have said the development at 711 Perrineville Road will consist of 18 buildings on a 36-acre lot. There will be 122 townhouses constructed in 16 buildings and 48 condominiums constructed in two buildings.

The townhouses will be sold at market rates and the condominiums will be marketed for sale under New Jersey’s affordable housing guidelines, according to the applicant.

The proposed development was initially announced by municipal officials in 2019 as part of the township’s plan to provide opportunities for the development of affordable housing in the community.

All of Millstone Township’s previously approved and constructed affordable housing projects contain only affordable housing units. Those developments are referred to as 100% affordable housing projects.

The project envisioned by Hexa Builders is the first development proposed in Millstone Township that would include a combination of market rate homes and affordable housing units. This type of development is referred to as an inclusionary project.

The property is owned by Gerald Baldachino, who presented the township with the initial plan to develop the property on Perrineville Road.

During the June 29 meeting of the Planning Board, engineer Gregg Barkley, representing the applicant, testified about the development’s waste water treatment facility.

Millstone Township does not have a public water system or sewer system, so the developer would need to create that infrastructure specifically for the project.

Barkley said the development’s waste water treatment facility would meet New Jersey’s standards. He described the facility as a recharge system that would generate water similar to a natural stream.

“It’s not like a septic system. It’s a lot cleaner than that,” he said of the proposed treatment facility.

Barkley explained that the primary purpose of the treatment facility would be to remove nitrates from the system and turn it into nitrogen gas.

“This is a primarily biological process, but there is some chemistry involved,” he said.

Barkley said a treatment facility operator who is licensed by the New Jersey Department of Environmental Protection (DEP) would be present at the site and a truck would remove the waste water from the development.

Barkley said the treatment facility has been designed to handle 49,200 gallons of water per day and would receive an estimated daily average of 25,000 gallons of water.

When asked about the infrastructure by board members, Barkley said the tanks have an estimated lifespan of more than 50 years.

Board members expressed concern the treatment facility’s pipes, which are proposed beneath an open space field, would harm the surrounding area.

“I am concerned this (will go) back to the people who live in town and they will have an extra bill,” board Vice Chairman Chris Pepe said.

In response, Barkley said the pipes would be part of a monitoring process.

Pepe was critical of the water treatment system’s design not being completed by the time of the meeting.

“We (the board) would be voting on something that has not been completed,” he said.

Another concern for the board was the residential development’s proposed water system. When asked by board members, Giunco acknowledged the applicant did not have a water system expert.

The board members indicated they believe an expert should testify as to how the development will use its water system.

Giunco said the development’s water system is under the state’s jurisdiction and the attorney said the applicant is still awaiting approval from the DEP.

As testimony concluded for the evening, Planning Board Chairman Mitchell Newman requested that the public hearing be carried to the board’s next meeting on July 13.

Giunco said the delay on a decision regarding the Hexa Builders application was “unreasonable,” but Pepe said the application was missing too much information for a decision to be made.

“You (the applicant) failed to make deadlines,” Pepe said.

Newman said the Hexa Builders application would be carried to July 13, but likely not heard because there are other applications on the agenda and because that meeting will be held in the municipal courtroom.

The Hexa Builders meetings have been held in a larger building at Wagner Farm Park.

Newman said the municipal courtroom cannot accommodate the number of people who want to hear the Hexa Builders application. He said on July 13, the board is likely to determine the next date on which the application will be heard.

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