RARITAN TWP. – Flemington Fields residents were assured last night that its developer is committed to installing the fire hydrants that they seek.
There are 86 single-family homes in the age-restricted, 55-plus community that also includes condominiums off of Hart Boulevard. Residents who have been attending Township Committee meetings argue that the project is in violation because there is not a hydrant within 400 feet of every home, as required by code. Construction on the project began in 2004.
Township attorney Jeffrey Lehrer told officials and residents last night that the attorney for Raritan Valley Developers has assured him that he is committed to installing the hydrants.
But resident Bob Traino was dubious, claiming that the developer is “infamous for delaying” his obligations to residents.
American Water has recently installed the valves needed for the hydrants, and the developer is seeking bids for the hydrants themselves, Lehrer said. Mayor Karen Gilbert said she didn’t know when the hydrants would be operational.
Traino said he feared that delays in obtaining the proper permits for the work would delay the project even further. He said it took him 60 days to get a construction permit for a simple job at his home. “Will that happen here?” he asked.
The mayor said that’s not a concern because the permit needed isn’t issued by the construction office, but by the township fire marshal.
Traino told the committee that, “We feel we’re being discriminated against” and that the 160 residents of the community should have all the services that other residents enjoy.
His concern is not just the hydrants, but the development’s roads themselves. They are privately owned by the project’s Homeowner’s Association, not the township. That means that residents pay for services such as snowplowing and road repairs.
“Let’s make everything equal here,” Traino told officials. “We just want equality.”
Traino and other residents point to a developer’s agreement that states the roads would be adopted by the township. But Lehrer said that agreement used boilerplate language and is not correct. All other documents relating to the project, including the Planning Board resolution approving it and the property plat on file with the township, indicate that the roads were to be private, he said.
Jeff Kuhl, who is chairman of the township Planning Board, told residents last night that the roads were approved as private because that’s what the developer requested.
Work done to install valves for the hydrants has disturbed part of the development, including its sidewalks. But the mayor assured residents that after the hydrants are installed, the developer will restore the disturbed areas to proper condition.