Government

Berkeley Heights Planners Approve 196-Unit Age-Restricted Development at 100 Locust Ave.

ba2a92b7e90bb6ea72c1_3B609BA9-260C-46A7-B0D9-D40E446488B2.jpeg
Woodcrest at Berkeley Heights an age-restricted development for people 55 and older was approved as part of the township's affordable housing settlement. Credits: Barbara Rybolt
d663bd4902debd172b41_06D2B782-D2DC-4D92-ABB3-01996C39FC7A.jpeg
Locust Avenue, Berkeley Heights, is on the right of this rendering. Building A is on the left, Building B on the right. Credits: Barbara Rybolt
f56cbbdf2753d7594f3d_0EF7DDF8-12A3-4BFA-BC14-E31DB37AE80F.jpeg
Credits: Barbara Rybolt
f21df09870c03bf5a6a6_ac8b82da6f5a25723b49_7263D4D4-8464-4C9A-ACAE-054D815A3C84.jpeg
Woodcrest at Berkeley Heights. Credits: Barbara Rybolt
ed10f573fc4a60e3d621_a3e61f4baccacca4d1c6_4036A693-C3FD-4E6E-931D-425633C7FC23.jpeg
Woodcrest at Berkeley Heights Credits: Barbara Rybolt
6521f4893a977c1570ac_3DE026E0-2E6C-4091-BC41-E52C6BB35D47.jpeg
Credits: Barbara Rybolt
68761556d6f01b42f54f_431FC0CE-9558-4075-A77A-D4591AF2BD1D.jpeg
Woodcrest at Berkeley Heights Planning Board meeting. Credits: Barbara Rybolt
dba0eaefb72273c6674c_31ABE73E-BE7B-4081-BA66-6ADD3E57B2C5.jpeg
Waiting for the board attorney to compile the list of conditions before the vote on the motion to approve the preliminary and final site plan of Woodcrest at Berkeley Heights. Credits: Barbara Rybolt
ba2a92b7e90bb6ea72c1_3B609BA9-260C-46A7-B0D9-D40E446488B2.jpeg

 

BERKELEY HEIGHTS, NJ – Another development included in the township’s court-approved affordable housing settlement has received preliminary and final site plan approval from the planning board.

Wednesday, June 20, the board voted to approve the all rental, 196-unit age-restricted development “Woodcrest at Berkeley Heights,” 100 Locust Ave.  

Whether there will be brick pavers or stamped concrete sidewalks has yet to be determined, along with other relatively minor issues.  

Sign Up for E-News

What is sure is there will be a light at Locust/Hamilton and Snyder avenues and the application to the NJ Department of Transportation for that light could be made within a few weeks. Also sure is no one under the age of 19 will be permitted to live in these units, they can, however, pay short visits.

The developer of the property, Berkeley Developer’s LLC, was represented at the meeting by one of its principals, Tony DiGiovanni.

The board heard testimony from the applicants experts on the how the site plan conformed with the plans contained in the Redevelopment Agreement.

Architect Avelino Martinez of Black Bird group, described the details of the project. There will be two buildings, Building A, at the far end of the property, away from Locust Avenue, and Building B which will be at the front of the property. The buildings will essentially be at right-angles to one another, with a club house or recreation center for all the residents located in Building A. Outside the club house entrance, there will be a porch overlooking a common area featuring patios, porches, decks and a gazebo connected by sidewalks between the two buildings. 

Building A will have 109 units, consisting of 14 one-bedroom and 78 two-bedroom market rate apartments, and 17 affordable one-bedroom units, distributed throughout the building. 

Building B will have 87 units, consisting of 18 one-bedroom and 57 two-bedroom market rate units and 12 affordable one-bedroom units.

In each building, the one-bedroom market rate apartments will average about 950-square-feet, the two-bedroom units 1,400 square feet.

Martinez called the exterior style of the building “suburban architecture” which features a muted color pallet of various shades of brown, white trim and stone on certain facades.

The majority of the parking will be in garages under the two buildings, with one entrance to each garage. Building A will have 186 parking spaces and Building B, 121 parking spaces in the garage. There will also be 79 surface spaces for a total of 386 parking spaces on the site, Martinez said.  The garages will be made of non-combustible materials, the upper floors of “fire resistant wood frame construction,” and the building will have a sprinkler system, Martinez said. Each building will also have an emergency generator and the mechanicals will be on the roof and not visible to the public.

The property slopes to the rear, so the elevation on Building A at the rear of the building is four stories and three stories at the front.  

When construction begins, it will start with Building A, then Building B will be phased in – possibly after three months. Building A will be occupied first, followed by Building B. There will be a separate construction entrance to the property, to keep traffic separated once Building A is occupied, the architect said. Once construction is started, it will take 15-18 months to finish Building A, and a total of two years from start to finish of the project.

Engineer Mike Junghans described the property, pointing out the property slopes toward the NJ Transit railroad tracks in the back. There is also an electrical substation adjacent to the tracks. The existing drive and wooded area along Locust Avenue will be maintained and wetlands in the back of the property will be undisturbed.

In answer to a question about the parking spaces and “tandem parking” in some areas, Junghans said, “every space under the buildings are assigned,” exterior parking spaces are not assigned. The tandem parking spots will be assigned to the same apartment and the residents will have keys for all their vehicles and be able to switch cars, as needed, he said.

Board member Kevin Hall questioned a recommendation by Junghans to drop the brick pavers agreed to in the original settlement agreement in favor of a more “safe” choice of an appropriately colored concrete sidewalk with the paver pattern stamped into the surface. Junghans said, “It is durable and the product is less susceptible to settling,” which creates a tripping hazard for older people.  He also argued in favor of concrete sidewalks next to the parking spaces, because during the winter, the maintenance of the parking lot and sidewalks can damage pavers. He also recommended changing the color from an agreed upon “fire engine red,” to a brownish color more in keeping with the more subdued hue of the exterior of the buildings

Hall said, “This is a significant departure from the Redevelopment Agreement.”

Board member Jeanne Kingsley agreed, “We negotiated hard” on this project and its requirements such as pavers, not concrete sidewalks are ”half the reason we did PILOTs” with the developers. “I am uncomfortable giving up on pavers,” she said.

The developers also wanted to eliminate a “sidewalk to nowhere” along the Locust Avenue side of their property. There is a crosswalk from the Woodcrest at Berkeley Heights, across Locust to the yet-to-be-built YMCA and the existing outdoor swimming pool.

Kingsley urged the board to not give up on the sidewalks.

See the complete meeting here on LiveStream.

Board member and Mayor Robert Woodruff agreed, “t’s important to stick to what was agreed to” in the Redevelopment Agreement."

Kingsley said on Tuesday, the council will take up a “Complete Streets” measure that would require sidewalks on all new applications, to “make Berkeley Heights a more walkable community.” To back off from the sidewalk requirement only five days before the council votes on the measure would set a precedent for other developers, she said.

Other details in the agreement include that there will be no left turns from Woodcrest onto Locust Avenue. There will, however, be a traffic light installed by the developers of that property at the corner of Locust/Hamilton and Snyder avenues. Locust Avenue becomes Hamilton Avenue after it crosses Snyder Avenue. 

The board approved the application with a list of conditions, all of which will be included in the final resolution during the board’s July meeting. Experts from the township and developer will address those conditions in meetings and determine how they will be met.

TAP Into Another Town's News:

You May Also Be Interested In

Sign Up for E-News

Berkeley Heights

'Tired of cronyism? Yeah, us too'

July 21, 2018

The Union County Freeholders’ decision to appoint State Senator and newly-elected Union County Democratic Chairman, Nick Scutari’s chief of staff, Ed Oatman as County Manager smelled of corruption from the start. To place a political consultant like Oatman in the role of overseeing 2,800 employees and running the day-to-day operations of the $500 million county budget suggests ...

TAPinto Spotlight on Business Features New Providence Dentistry

July 17, 2018

NEW PROVIDENCE, NJ - TAPinto "Summer Spotlight on Business" features local businesses and their owners who are important to our communities. Follow this column to receive a fresh perspective on small business owners and their unique needs while shining a spotlight on their stories.

This edition features New Providence Dentistry, operated by Dr. Beth Herko and her staff of ...

Avoiding 10% Tax Penalty

Do you want access to money from your retirement accounts but aren't sure of the real costs involved?

Most retirement accounts have a set age requirement you must reach before making penalty-free income distributions, which is usually 59.5 but can sometimes be as early as age 50. If you decide to access your accounts earlier, you could face penalties ranging from 10%-25%, which is not ...

Caring Contact Volunteer Listener Training

July 21, 2018

Caring Contact Volunteer Listener Training Fall 2018

Are you looking for a flexible, rewarding volunteer opportunity?

Have you ever been told you are a good listener?

Do you have a yearning to really make a difference?

Become a Caring and Crisis Hotline Listener.

You could save a life.

Volunteers receive 52 hours of comprehensive training in active listening, Mental Health ...

Shakespeare in the Park Returns to Union County Sunday, July 22

The Union County Board of Chosen Freeholders is pleased to announce the return of Shakespeare in the Park this weekend. The performance will be presented on Sunday, July 22 at 12:30 p.m. at Cedar Brook Park in Plainfield.

The Shrew Mechanicals Troupe from The Shakespeare Theatre of New Jersey will present an hour long performance of “Shakespeare Gumbo,” a stirring collection of ...

Enjoy a Lifetime of Discovery in Union County Parks

July is National Parks and Recreation Month, and Union County residents are invited to celebrate this year by exploring “undiscovered” programs and activities found throughout the nearly 6,200 acres of the Union County parks system.

“Union County was one of the very first counties in the United States to establish its own county-based park system for nature conservation and ...

Union County Honored for History Projects

ELIZABETH, NJ - The Union County Board of Chosen Freeholders is pleased to announce that two national achievement recognitions for history projects have been presented to the Union County Office of Cultural & Heritage Affairs, a division of the Department of Parks and Recreation.

“Union County is rich in history, and this Freeholder Board is committed to engaging the public with ...

Geoffrey the Giraffe Moves In To New Brunswick Children's Hospital

July 12, 2018

NEW BRUNSWICK, NJ - Over a stretch of nearly 70 years, Geoffrey the Giraffe at Toys R Us stores was the symbol of happy times for generations of children, and now he may provide those same feelings for children coming to a hospital.

"From this day forward, Geoffrey stands tall in our lobby to encourage our smallest patients to smile when they enter our facilities," said John ...

Upcoming Events

Sun, July 22, 2:00 PM

Scherman Hoffman Wildlife Sanctuary, Bernardsville

NJ Audubon: Moths and other Pollinators

Education Green

Carousel_image_634bcda860ed17650f72_93a8625c-ce9d-413f-a61e-4b2df4fe0604

Tue, July 24, 3:00 PM

Grillestone Restaurant , Scotch Plains

Hear the Story of Amelia Earhart, America's Most ...

Arts & Entertainment Food & Drink

Carousel_image_e6c7d5b8a558926ee4c5_8e2f7c3f3d7547130a87_swim_team_2

Tue, July 24, 5:30 PM

Summit YMCA, Summit

Summit Area YMCA Swim Team Tryouts July 24th

Health & Wellness

Carousel_image_e6c7d5b8a558926ee4c5_8e2f7c3f3d7547130a87_swim_team_2

Tue, July 24, 5:30 PM

Summit YMCA, Summit

Summit Area YMCA Swim Team Tryouts July 24th

Health & Wellness

Carousel_image_b91f21bd7ac6c164e408_wednesday_matinees_at_trailside

Wed, July 25, 1:30 PM

Trailside Nature & Science Center, MountainsidE

Trailside’s Annual Summer Wednesday Matinee ...

Arts & Entertainment Education

Wed, July 25, 7:30 PM

Chatham United Methodist Church, Chatham

Masterwork’s Summer Sings Conclude with Verdi ...

Arts & Entertainment

And Over Here is the Dining Hall 2

My very first job in admissions was while I was still an undergraduate myself as a tour guide.  Very early on they indoctrinated us with some tricks of the trade.  It’s a dining hall, not a cafeteria.  A residence hall, not a dorm.  If you have to divulge some negative bit of information, sandwich it between two positives.  There were instructions for glossing over ...

Women Have Special Financial Needs That Advisors Overlook

Women have special financial needs that advisors overlook in two ways: 1) advisors don’t always acknowledge the different planning needs women have and 2) advisors don’t always communicate well with female clients – especially if the client comes to a meeting with her husband. It’s very common for a male advisor to spend much or most of the face time in meetings talking to ...

5 Simple Ways to Save Water this Summer

According to the L.A. Times, the average American uses an estimated 98 gallons of water EACH day.  

Here are five simple ways you can save water, to help you conserve water this summer and take some pressure off of your drains.

1. Unless you are using it, turn the faucet off. How many of us still leave the water running while we shave or brush our teeth?According to ...