BERNARDS TWP., NJ _ A discussion on whether to change the zoning on a 9.66-acre commercial property off Mount Airy Road to a zone that could allow a assisted senior living facility to be built there was delayed by the Township Committee on Tuesday night.

Further consideration of a Massachusetts developer's proposal to build 94 residential units _ including 67 units of assisted living housing and 27 units for residents who need memory care _ was postponed after two of five Township Committee members were absent, one unexpectedly.

Discussion rescheduled for July 24

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The discussion, and a proposal to rezone the property off Old Meeker Road, has been rescheduled for the July 24 meeting, officials said. The tract is approximately across from the Visiting Nurse Association of the Somerset Hills on Mount Airy Road.

On Tuesday, Township Mayor John Carpenter said that the developer, LCB Senior Living, would be able file an application for construction of the facility with or without a zoning change.

However, if the Township Committee declines to revise the zoning, the mayor said that the developer would have to seek a zoning variance from the township as well as presenting the plan.

Changing the zone would not necessarily mean that the proposal would be approved by the Planning Board.

In previous correspondence, LCB Senior Living said it is under contract to buy the property with the intent to build another senior living center similar to those it has constructed in multiple states. The plan had been presented in concept at a Township Committee meeting in May.

If built, 10 percent of the housing units to be set aside for lower-income residents, which would help satisfy the township's state-ordered affordable housing obligation, according to an overview for the proposed senior citizen housing posted in May on the Bernards Township website.

Bernards Township Administrator Pat Monaco confirmed in an email on Wednesday that LCB Senior Living has proposed setting aside 10 percent of the living units as affordable housing. He added, "I believe that component is negotiable to some extent."

In May, Township Committee members said they would like to hear more about the proposal. At that time, Township Committeewoman Carol Bianchi said she would like to know more about the proposal but also cautioned, "They would need to give us a lot of information." She said she would have questions about such issues as what impact the project would have on local emergency services.

The July 24 Township Committee meeting is scheduled to begin at 8 p.m. at town hall at 1 Collyer Lane in Basking Ridge.