Edison, NJ – At its meeting on Monday, the Edison Planning Board voted on two separate sites, finding that both are in need of redevelopment. 

Based on presentations from the Township’s Planner, Bignell Planning Consultants, the Edison Planning Board approved the redevelopment designation for 18-20 Vineyard Road and 1696 Oak Tree Road.  Bignell conducted non-condemnation redevelopment studies of both properties.

The  Vineyard property, presently occupied by Mandy’s Service Center, a business in operation for nearly 40 years,  is located near the Sam’s Club.  A 1.4 acre property, the site is comprised of three parcels.  The site currently houses an impound yard, automotive service business, and a towing business.

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According to Bignell, the property qualifies for redevelopment because the layout and space is insufficient for its current use, making it an obsolete layout. Bignell also opined that the automotive storage and surrounding residential neighborhood were not compatible.

“The operation has expanded beyond the capacity of the site,” said Todd Bletcher, a representative from Bignell, pointing to the truck traffic generated by the site.

“How did the Town let this property get to this point,” asked Mark Danielle, a member of the Planning Board. “If this were Metuchen, I can’t see this happening,” he said.  

“This is just a bad byproduct of what was allowed,” responded Henry Bignell, who pointed to the changing characteristics of the neighborhood.  Bordering the former Ford site, the property is now surrounded by residential properties and retail stores, including Sam’s Club.

The planning board did not comment whether the redevelopment of this project would be limited to commercial use  or include residential use, but Mr. Bletcher stated that realistically any use would need to utilize all three parcels of land.

Bignell separately opined that 1696 Oak Tree Road also qualifies for redevelopment.  A former chemical manufacturing site that was active between 1947 and 2004,  the property is currently vacant and is owned by JK Estates.  The site is approximately 7.5 acres according to Bignell, who also stated that portions of the property contain contaminated ground water.

The site was previously approved for a 80,000 square foot strip mall, but according to Mr. Bignell, the requirements running with that approval left the project unfeasible.  The site has undergone remediation since the approval according to Bignell.

Since the property has remained vacant for at least ten years the designation of the site for redevelopment is justified, according to Mr. Bletcher.

Bignell stated that future housing on the site has not been ruled out.  

“I heard you use the word mixed use, so there can be houses on there someday?” asked Mr. Danielle.

“Yes there could be residential sure,” responded Mr. Bignell.  “It could certainly be a part of the redevelopment” he added. “It might be senior housing, I’ve heard that”

Both properties will now go before the Edison Council for further discussion based on the Planning Board’s decision that they are in need of redevelopment.