BERNARDS TWP., NJ - A detailed look at the concept plan for the redevelopment of the defunct Millington Quarry Property on Stonehouse Road - including a proposed hotel, homes of varying sizes, office, and a large lake that would fill in the deepest quarrying pit on the property - is scheduled to be presented at Tuesday night's Bernards Township Committee meeting.
A draft of the plan is already online on the Bernards Township website.
The meeting is scheduled for 8 p.m. on Tuesday, Oct. 24, in the main meeting room at the municipal building at 1 Collyer Lane in Basking Ridge. The agenda is posted online.
The future of the long-quarried property has been a topic that was wrestled with before township boards and the subject of study for decades. The 180-acre property is the largest remaining undeveloped tract in Bernards Township.
Designated as state redevelopment site
With the approval of the Planning Board, the property has already been designated as a state redevelopment site. A local representative of a contracted buyer of the property already approached the Township Committee in 2016 to discuss the concept of the proposal.
"It's an amazing landscape," said Anthony Splendorio, a township resident and landscape architect who owns the "Back to Nature" center off King George Road. Splendorio was named as an adviser to Shopoff Realty Investments, the contracted buyer of the quarry property.
Splendorio said at that time the vision for the property's redevelopment would include access to the lake and trails, providing public recreational opportunities on the land.
Supporters of the plan are looking to the long-discussed redevelopment as an opportunity to also build state-ordered affordable housing units, and the type of homes that would be sized to be more attractive to young buyers and also "empty nesters."
Township officials said the public would be part of the process of deciding how the quarry will be redeveloped.
The cooperation of a developer and township under a state redevelopment law is also being seen by some as more productive than the previously contentious relationship with the quarry's owner and former operator. In the mid-2000s, officials charged in a court case that soil being trucked in to filled quarried mine pits tested positive for contamination. The quarry later addressed the issue in cooperation with the state Department of Environmental Protection.
However, the effect of buried soil on the future lake and residential properties was voiced as a concern when the plan was brought again before Township Committee earlier this year.
Former Township Committeeman Bill Allen said that at a Township Committee meeting in February that the "elephants in the room" in discussions of the quarry's future include the risks of a steep rock cliff that remains on the property; what activities would be permitted in the area of the property where soil that had tested as contaminated was isolated and capped; and how long the quarried pit would likely take to naturally fill in with water, and also what the quality would be of the future lake water.
Speaking at another meeting, Allen and Ann Parksekian, a former member of the Bernards Township Planning Board, both urged township officials to ensure that the Millington Quarry owners to meet pledged responsibilities to make the property suitable for redevelopment.