BRIDGEWATER, NJ - The Land Development Application for potential redevelopment of part of an 8.9-acre parcel off Old Tullo Road was tabled April 27 after residents expressed concern.
The applicant’s engineer, Paul Fox, specified that only 4.3 acres of the parcel would be developed. The rest of the property will remain undeveloped because it is wetland.
This application also does not address the building of the homes, which will come in a separate application if this first one to actually development the land is approved.
The lots that are being considered for redevelopment are through lots, which means they have streets on both sides of them.
Bridgewater planner Scarlet Doyle said due to the fact that the property will have frontage on two roads, one side should be a backyard.
According to Fox, if the application is approved, the property will be subdivided into four lots that would be accessed from a cul-de-sac on Kennesaw Way
The property is owned by Bridgewater resident Mary Ellen Rendas, whose parents bought the parcel in 1989.
“It was a fully improved lot,” Rendas said, “but back in 1999 my parents had the home on the property demolished and it has been vacant since.”
Fox and environmental consultant John Peel said the property meets the standards to be developed.
“I don’t think there’s any detriment to the public good,” Peel said.
Bridewater resident Bill Zinnikas who lives on Tullo Farm Road said he believes the plots of land in question for redevelopment are too close to his house.
“The nearest homes are probably along Tullo Farm Road,” Fox said. “The property being developed is around 250 feet away from other homes.”
The residents expressed concern about the elimination of the wooded area near Old Tullo Road that is a staple in the area.
“That is the park-like nature of our area and the genesis of our concern,” Zinnikas said.
In addition to the trails, the importance of drainage basin management was discussed.
Fox said the property would have a drainage basin, but expressed concern about letting a homeowners association control it.
“I believe it’s possible to have a good homeowners association to manage the basin,” he said. “But I think it should be monitored by the township.”
Peel said the redevelopment plan requires encroaching on the wetlands, but they are planning to rectify that.
“We’re encroaching and expanding the wetlands so it is a 1-to-1 ratio,” he said.
Bridgewater resident Brian Wood urged the board to table the decision to develop the Old Tullo Road property.
“We’ve only had about 20 days to read all of the documents,” he said. “There was a new document submitted tonight.”
That new document concerned how far away the houses would be placed from Old Tullo Road, and, consquently, how big the backyards and frontyards would be.
Resident Susan Willett agreed with Wood and expressed concern about the wildlife.
“There are animals that depend on the area and we’re going to cut them all down,” she said. “I urge you to give us time to assess all these new documents.”
Rendas's attorney, Vincent Bisogno, urged the council to vote because his client had given the property owners proper notice and had the potential plan published in the newspaper, as required by statute.
“I think we are entitled to a vote,” he said.
Despite Bisogno’s request to have the council vote, the decision about the Old Tullo Road property was postponed to June 22 at 7 p.m. in the municipal courtroom.