Howell Planning Board gives thumbs up to seniors’ apartment building


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HOWELL – The Woodmont senior assisted living center has been approved to be constructed at the corner of Route 9 north and West Farms Road in Howell.

During a meeting of the Planning Board that was held in a remote format on Aug. 4, the board members unanimously voted “yes” to approve the three-story building.

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Testimony that was presented prior to the board’s vote was the continuation of a June 16 public hearing on the application.

Woodmont Senior Living, LLC, as the applicant, and Alliance Management Company, LLC, as the owner, were seeking preliminary and final major site plan approval to construct a three-story building at Route 9 north and West Farms Road, according to information provided by the Planning Board.

The building will contain 130 apartments for seniors and consist of independent living apartments, assisted living apartments and memory care apartments. The building was proposed at a location where it is a permitted use.

During the June 16 meeting, attorney Peter Wolfson presented Stephen Nichols, vice president, Senior Housing Division, Woodmont Properties; engineer Denis Keenan; landscape architect Thomas Carman; and architect and project manager Mark Kuberski to testify about various aspects of the proposal.

Their testimony indicated that access to and from the apartment building will be provided by a new full-movement driveway (right turns and left turns permitted in and out) on West Farms Road and by a new right in/right out driveway on Route 9 north.

The applicant proposed combining three lots to develop the project.

Site improvements will include landscaping, lighting, a refuse enclosure and above-ground and underground basins that will provide storm water management control on the premises, according to the testimony.

When the public hearing resumed on Aug. 4, Keenan described several revisions that had been made to the plan.

Keenan said the initial application provided 130 parking spaces at the site. At the board’s request and in accordance with regulations, that number was increased to 145 parking spaces and there will be 13 charging stations for electric vehicles.

In addition, the applicant revised the plan to include a sidewalk on West Farms Road and on Route 9 north at the development location.

Testimony was also provided by traffic engineer Andrew Feranda of Shropshire Associates and planner John McDonough.

During public comment, residents of Fox Hill Drive, which intersects West Farms Road near the development site, expressed their concerns about the proposed apartment building.

The residents’ concerns included how the project’s landscaping would affect their backyard privacy; the project’s impact on wildlife when the site is cleared; the proximity of the apartment building to a Suburban Propane dealer at Route 9 north and West Farms Road and the potential impact that business could have on the apartment building’s residents; and the smell of food that could come from the apartment building.

Following discussion among the board members, a motion was made to approve the Woodmont building and the motion passed in a unanimous vote.

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