Real Estate

Sparkler Ban on Public Land, Consideration of Senior Housing Zone, on Tues. Bernards Committee Agenda

Sparklers and other small novelty fireworks can now be legally purchased in local stores and used for recreation in New Jersey, a reversal of the previous statewide ban. Credits: By Linda Sadlouskos

BERNARDS TWP., NJ - A public hearing on and possible enactment of an updated town ordinance that would ban sparklers and other now-legal novelty fireworks on public land is one of the items on Tuesday's Bernards Township Committee agenda, along with discussion of a proposed new senior housing zone and beautification efforts for traffic islands in town.

The agenda is posted on the Bernards Township website. The public portion of the meeting is scheduled to begin at 8 p.m. in the main meeting room at the Bernards Township town hall, 1 Collyer Lane, in Basking Ridge center.

At the last committee meeting in June, Bernards Township Mayor John Carpenter said the Bernards Township Committee was planning to further discuss a Massachusetts developer's proposal to build 94 units of assisted living housing for senior citizens on 9.66 acres off Mount Airy Road. Public comments on the plan would also be accepted at that time, Carpenter said.

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Carpenter added that committee members would also offer comments about the plan, which was presented in concept at a Township Committee meeting in May.

The proposal from LCB Senior Living of Massachusetts calls for 67 units of assisted living housing and 27 units for residents who need memory care. Ten 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 correspondence from LCB Senior Living, which has developed senior housing elsewhere.

LCB Senior Living said it is under contract to buy the property, which is located off Old Meeker Road approximately across Mount Airy Road from the Visiting Nurse Association.

Building the multi-unit residential facility would require a municipal zoning change to allow housing, a topic set to be addressed on Tuesday night.

In June, Township Committeewoman Carol Bianchi said then she would like to know more about the proposal but also cautioned, "They would need to give us a lot of information" before she said she would offer support for the idea. She said she would have questions about such issues as what impact the project would have on local emergency services.

Discussion of sparkler and fireworks amendment to existing law

Also at the end of June, the Township Committee introduced an amendment to an existing local law to prohibit the use of sparklers and other small fireworks now legal in New Jersey on public lands within Bernards Township. The items are now sold statewide, including in area supermarkets.

In June, township officials said police and municipal insurance carriers are in favor of keeping the sparklers and fireworks off public lands, citing concerns about fire and overall safety. The existing law already bans explosives and the discharge of firearms on any public property within the township.

The second reading and public hearing on the amended law is scheduled for the July 10 Township Committee meeting, along with the Township Committee's vote on whether to put the proposed new version of the law into effect.

Beautification of traffic islands around the township

Also on Tuesday, Township Administrator Pat Monaco is due to give a report regarding options and potential beautification of traffic islands around town. Previously this year, a resident suggested allowing local landscapers to beautify the islands in exchange for a small sign allowing advertising.

Monaco's report, posted online, suggests financial sponsorship for improving the traffic islands from the general business community, while allowing sponsorship.

Setting up a sponsorship program can be a way to 'evaluate resources and costs needed [for] setting up a business advertisement sponsorship program., the report says.

The agenda also includes the proposed introduction of $450,000 in earmarked capital funds to continue the township's ramped up roads improvements program. The funds would pay for projects such as road resurfacing, including drainage improvements, sidewalk and bikeway repairs and improvements and pedestrian safety measures. 


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