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Manalapan planners grant final approval for apartments on Route 33 tract

MANALAPAN — The members of the Manalapan Planning Board have unanimously granted final major site plan approval to an applicant that plans to construct an affordable housing development of 102 apartments on Route 33 west.

The application of The Place at Manalapan, LLC, (Community Investment Strategies Inc.) was before the board during a meeting on Oct. 27 at the municipal building.

Preliminary major site plan approval for The Place at Manalapan was granted by the board in August 2021.

According to a legal notice published by the applicant prior to the Oct. 27 meeting, The Place at Manalapan will consist of 102 rental apartments in five buildings.

Under affordable housing guidelines, the apartments will be rented at below market rates to individuals and families whose income meets certain guidelines.

The project also includes a 1,750-square-foot community building, a tot lot playground, 206 parking spaces, storm water management facilities, lighting, landscaping, fences, retaining walls and trash enclosures.

The buildings will be constructed on a 14-acre property that is in Manalapan’s Affordable Housing Multi-Family zone and in the Route 33 Overlay zone.

The property on Route 33 westbound is between Sawgrass Drive (the entrance to the Knob Hill housing development and golf course) and Madison Avenue (next to a Sinclair gas station).

Three buildings will each contain 24 apartments; one building will contain 18 apartments; and one building will contain 12 apartments. Access to and from the buildings will be provided with a right turn in and right turn out driveway on Route 33.

The applicant was represented at the meeting by attorney Niall J. O’Brien, of the firm Archer and Greiner, Voorhees. O’Brien called on several professionals to provide details of the application to the board members and the board’s professionals.

Civil engineer Brad Thompson reviewed details of the application and noted that a sidewalk will be provided along Route 33. He said the community building will be available to all residents of the development.

Thompson said the development will be accessible to all types of emergency vehicles and to trash collection trucks.

Testimony indicated a private company will provide collection of trash and recyclable items.

Thompson said the project cannot be constructed until pending approvals from outside agencies have been approved.

The applicant is waiting for final approval from the New Jersey Department of Transportation, the Freehold Soil Conservation District, the Western Monmouth Utilities Authority and a public water provider.

Finally, Thompson said the buildings will be 46 feet tall (50 feet is permitted in the zone) and he said they will not have elevators.

Testimony from the applicant’s representatives indicated that during the weekday morning peak hour, 16 vehicles would enter the development and 42 vehicles would exit the development. During the weekday afternoon peak hour, 41 vehicles would enter the development and 28 vehicles would exit the development.

Architect Bob Cogan presented architectural renderings of the proposed buildings and the clubhouse. He said various materials and multiple types of siding, as well as different roof heights, would prevent the buildings from having only one type of appearance.

Each apartment will have a washer and a dryer, and its own heating, ventilation and air conditioning unit. One apartment will be reserved for the site manager, leaving 101 apartments available for rent.

The community building will only be available to residents who live in the development. The building will contain a management office, a community room, restrooms and a catering kitchen (no cooking facilities), Cogan said.

None of the board members or the board’s professionals raised significant issues or concerns with the testimony provided by the applicant’s representatives.

A motion was made to grant final major site plan approval to The Place at Manalapan and board members Kathryn Kwaak, Todd Brown, John Castronovo, Barry Fisher, Steven Kastell, Township Committeeman Jack McNaboe, Township Committeeman Barry Jacobson and Richard Hogan voted “yes.”

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