BERNARDS TWP., NJ _ A 280-unit housing plan that is part of Bernards Township's settlement with the state to provide additional affordable housing is scheduled to come before the township Planning Board on Tuesday for a ruling on whether the application is complete.
Mountainview Corporate Center is seeking preliminary and final approval for a multifamily "inclusionary" housing development off Mountainview Boulevard, with 62 units to be set aside for a combination of very low and moderate-income households.
The applicant is proposing to construct 77 studio and one-bedroom units, 130 two-bedroom units, and 13 three-bedroom units on about 30 acres at the end of the roadway.
Another 60 three-bedroom townhouse development, part of the same application, is proposed for construction on almost 42 acres.
Currently, according to applicant, the property is undeveloped, and characterized as forest with field areas.
The proposed development is part of a court case settlement approved by a state judge that gives Bernards Township immunity from further lawsuits pressing for affordable housing projects through 2025.
The Township Committee voted 3-2 in September 2018 to include the Mountainview project in its affordable housing plan.
Neighbors unanimously criticized the plan, saying they had been "blindsided" by the proposal in late August, and that the large development would change the character of the town forever.
Residents also said that the new homes would dramatically increase traffic in the area.
At that meeting, then-Township Committeewoman Carolyn Gaziano said that she believed the Millington Quarry site would have been a better location for the residential development.
Prior to casting her "no" vote, Township Committeewoman Carol Bianchi, now mayor, said she would have preferred for Bernards to take an approach similar to that in neighboring Far Hills Borough, which held a series of public meetings offering detailed looks at different proposals for developments that would include low- to moderate-income housing.
At that time, the three Township Committee members who voted to approve the zoning change also said they would not have chosen to zone for construction of the 280 housing units.
"I agree with almost all of everything that everyone said," Township Committeeman James Baldassare told the audience. But he said that because of the state's requirement for affordable housing, "We have to change the zoning."
As part of the same settlement, the Township Committee also included a 2018 agreement with two other developers to construct 198 market and affordable rental homes in the vicinity of the abandoned A & P supermarket at Dewy Meadow Village, as well as a 24-unit apartment planned on an old tennis court at neighboring Crown Court apartments. Those projects have already gone before _ and been approved by _ the township Planning Board.
The agenda is posted online. The Planning Board meeting is scheduled to begin at 7:30 p.m. in the main meeting room at the municipal building at 1 Collyer Lane in Basking Ridge.