Lack of information about new homes concerns Jackson board members


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JACKSON — Members of the Jackson Planning Board expressed concern about what they called a lack of information when an applicant came before them to seek subdivision approval during a recent meeting.

On Nov. 7, the applicant, GM Grawtown, LLC, was seeking preliminary and final subdivision approval to create 49 residential lots (homes), one affordable housing lot (10 units) and one storm water lot at 233 Grawtown Road.

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Grawtown Road runs between East Veterans Highway and Whitesville Road in Jackson.

The applicant is represented by attorney Adam D. Pfeffer, who said the 23-acre property is in Jackson’s RG-2 zone (Pinelands Regional Growth Zone).

Pfeffer said the minimum lot size for a market rate single-family home would be 10,000 square feet (quarter-acre). He said the 10 affordable housing units would consist of five two-bedroom units and five three-bedroom units.

Testimony on behalf of the applicant was presented by engineer Graham MacFarlane. He said the application meets or exceeds all of the bulk requirements of the RG-2 zone.

The applicant was not seeking site plan approval for the residential units and that became a point of contention with the board members who listened to the presentation.

MacFarlane said wetlands on the property would not be disturbed by the proposed development. Access to the residences would be from Grawtown Road.

The preliminary design shows the 10 affordable housing units being constructed in three buildings, although he said that could change.

Affordable housing is defined as housing that is sold or rented at below market rates to individuals and families whose income meets certain guidelines.

MacFarlane said off-street parking would be provided for the single-family homes, which he said could have five or more bedrooms.

A five-bedroom home would require three parking spaces; a six-bedroom home and a seven-bedroom home would each require four parking spaces; and an eight-bedroom home would require five parking spaces, according to the engineer.

MacFarlane said the size and exact type of homes that would be constructed has not been determined, nor has it been determined if one developer would construct all 49 homes or if the buyer of an individual lot would contract with a builder of his choice to construct the home.

Pfeffer reiterated that the applicant was only seeking subdivision approval to create the lots and not site plan approval for specific homes, but several board members said the two types of approval are related.

Planning Board Chairman Robert Hudak said, “I can’t look at this (application) for approval without knowing what will be built.”

“None of the homes are seeking variances,” Pfeffer responded.

Hudak pressed the issue, saying, “We need to see what’s going to be built.”

Board member Michele Campbell joined the discussion and said, “We don’t know what the heck is going to go on those lots. It’s too much of a broad spectrum here. It seems like there are too many homes for this acreage.”

Township Administrator Terence Wall, who sits on the board, said, “I am not sure why we are hearing something that is not done yet.”

Hudak opened the meeting to public comment and Richard Jackson, a resident of Grawtown Road, said the proposed road leading into the housing development would be an issue because of what he described as a nearby blind curve on Grawtown Road.

Jackson asked the applicant’s representatives and the board members to take that curve into consideration when designing and/or approving the entrance to the development.

Michael Brazinski, another resident of Grawtown Road, said he believed a better proposal would be for the applicant to construct fewer homes on larger lots, such as 1-acre or 1.5-acre lots.

“Grawtown Road is a very nice road,” Brazinski said.

No decision regarding the GM Grawtown, LLC, application was reached on Nov. 7. Pfeffer said his client would take the board members’ comments under advisement.

The application was carried to the Planning Board’s Dec. 12 meeting, but it will not be heard that evening. At that time, a date in 2023 on which the application will return before the board is expected to be scheduled.

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