MONTVILLE, NJ – After many meetings of putting pressure on the Montville Township Committee to at least try to pursue purchasing the land located at 205-207 Changebridge Road instead of a having a multi-level senior facility that residents don’t want built on the site, the gallery was very quiet at the April 9 meeting.

The reason was resolution 2019-12 that authorized a contract not to exceed $5,000 for real estate appraisal services to the township, which the committee passed without comment. Township Clerk Leena Abaza later confirmed that the resolution was for the Changebridge site.

TAPinto Montville reached out to the chair of the Open Space Committee, John Misiewicz, who said that at their April 19 meeting they made no recommendations on the site.

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“The problem is that it doesn’t connect to anything we own,” he said. “But we won’t make a recommendation until we hear back from the Land Conservancy.” The Land Conservancy is a professional organization that the township consults with on open space matters.

Former GI Auto Site Rezoned

Contracted Planner for the township Joseph Burgis of Burgis Associates was at the meeting to explain why the township committee was overriding the Planning Board’s denial of ordinance 2019-08, which basically designates the former GI Auto site in Pine Brook as part of the township’s affordable housing plan. It clears the way for Avalon Bay to place an application with the township to build a 349-unit rental housing development. As Mayor Richard Conklin has reiterated several times, it is not an automatic establishment of the development and the company will have to go through the application process. The Planning Board in its denial stated through Chair Gary Lewis that the proposed apartments are not consistent with the town’s master plan, which is a document that states the land use rules for the town.

Burgis said the reasons for the override are:

  1. To get 52 affordable housing credits to address the township’s affordable housing obligation, plus an extra 52 credits because the units would be rentals
  2. To allow for a 21-foot retaining wall along Route 46
  3. Some housekeeping items regarding trees and referral to the zoning board

Burgis said the only change in the actual zoning is to eliminate the age restriction, which was significant towards achieving the affordable housing obligation. He said it was proposed at 100 units more than it is now.

To read more about the town’s affordable housing plan, click here.

Other News

If you remember being without power twice in March 2018 due to two storms, you will be happy to note that the township has received a $94,000 reimbursement from FEMA and the state’s office of emergency management for the costs those storms caused. To date, reimbursement that the township has received total $184,758, Township Administrator Victor Canning stated.

Choppy roads have made for disgruntled drivers, but this year approximately $2 million have been earmarked for paving, Canning said, and the state Dept. of Transportation has approved an additional $176,000 for improvements to Taylortown Road.

The budget that was introduced at the meeting will result in the average home assessed at $528,752 having a tax increase of 1.503% or $38.73, Canning said. He thanked Assistant Township Administrator June Hercek and CFO Katie Yanke for their skills.

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