BRIDGEWATER, NJ - The Bridgewater Township Council approved a resolution that waives a requirement in the redevelopment plan of the Weyerhauser property for the developer to obtain approval for the installation of a traffic light at the intersection of East Main Street and a proposed new street.
Somerset County has jurisdiction over East Main Street and must make the final decision on any new traffic lights.
As part of the original redevelopment ordinance for the Weyerhauser property, the council was requiring the developer to work hard for a traffic signal on East Main Street as the primary entrance into the project.
But the county denied the request, so the developer requested a waiver to that requirement and presented alternate plans to close off any vehicular access to the neighborhood off Ramsey Street, except for emergency vehicles. The plan is to keep outside traffic from cutting through the development to get out to East Main Street.
Although several council members had initially said they would withdraw their support for the redevelopment project without the traffic light, they have said the new proposal is acceptable.
The approval for the waiver had previously been given, but a resolution was required for the decision.
Ramsey Street resident John Kulak, who has vocally opposed the resolution and the plans for the redevelopment project, said in an email to council members that he would encourage them to make some changes to the resolution before it is approved.
Kulak said he would like to see wording added to the resolution that if an updated traffic study and police reports shows traffic congestion because of the redevelopment, the redeveloper must reapply with the county for the traffic light.
In addition, he said, he would like it to say that the developer may not grant access to any other vehicles, aside from emergency vehicles, on the private streets.
Currently, the resolution says the redeveloper will install a new road with no vehicle access, and an updated traffic study should be submitted once the project is complete and at least 198 units are occupied.
“The language that I added is meant to make the conditions necessary to grant the waiver resolution be permanent,” Kulak said. “Consequences for the increased traffic and potentially dangerous conditions should be imposed on the redeveloper as a condition for granting the waiver.”
“It is also to provide the neighborhood with the assurance that the restriction of traffic from the local streets will continue as a permanent condition,” he added.
Changes were not made to the resolution.
The developer has already begun giving testimony for its project proposal on the property, with the next hearing to be held before the planning board Aug. 9.