MONTVILLE, NJ – Mayor Frank Cooney spoke at the Feb. 11 Montville Township Chamber of Commerce luncheon about development in town, paving and affordable housing.

Cooney had glowing reviews of the township’s lawyers, who brought the number of affordable housing units originally sought for the township by Fair Share Housing “way down,” he said. Avalon Bay, to be built as 349 rental apartment units in Pine Brook on the former site of the GI Auto salvage yard, will include 52 affordable housing units, Cooney said. The site plan was recently approved by the Montville Township Planning Board as detailed in this article: Avalon Bay.

Avalon Bay had approached the township with a proposal to build 600 units, township attorney Fred Semrau had stated back in 2018, but that number was negotiated downward to the 349.

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Millcreek is an apartment development proposed for the former Bayer building at the back of the complex on Changebridge Road, Cooney said.

“You shouldn’t really be able to see it unless you’re on Route 80,” he said. “You might be able to get a glimpse of it from Hook Mountain Road.”

The new complex would house 295 units with 47 units designated as affordable housing. The application had its first hearing with the planning board Feb. 13.

V&L was zoned for on Route 202/Main Road near Seabreeze beverage company.

“They are looking to build 70 overall units, 14 designated affordable, but no application has been received yet,” Cooney said. “This would be good though, because they are designated as resale.”

Cooney said that two overlay zones for redevelopment also had to be chosen as part of the settlement with Fair Share Housing, so the township committee chose from “The Schoolhouse” on Route 202 near Taylortown to The Canal House, and property on Stiles Lane to the river. All properties would have to purchased to redevelop the zones.

The Fogelson property near the 287 on-ramp might be developed as senior/residential, but there are problems with access because of the configuration of the property, he said. There has been no application on 205-207 Changebridge Road, he also said, which is a possible senior care facility.

“Something you see on Facebook a lot is [discussion of] 17 Hook Mountain Road [at Bloomfield Avenue],” Cooney said. “It was approved about 12 or 13 years ago. The owner ‘sat on it’ because it didn’t make sense to build it. Now he feels it’s the time to do it. The community is aging – it will be age-restricted units. That’s good – it will have no impact on our schools. There will be 24 units, 55 and older, and three will be affordable, all rentals.”

Cooney said Avalon Bay would represent just over 50 school children but fewer at Millcreek. Board of Education President Charles Grau happened to be at the meeting and he stated that a demographic study was performed in 2016 and the district is below projections. (The study predicted a seven percent decline in enrollment except for Woodmont Elementary.  See: Decline in enrollment). He said once the developments have been built, a new study will be initiated. Superintendent of Schools René Rovtar also attended the luncheon and said no construction would be necessary due to the developments.

When asked about possible infrastructure improvements, Cooney said the only possible project the township committee is considering is replacing the amphitheater since it is so popular, especially for Montville Day, which will be Oct. 4, 2020.

Cooney said $500,000 was budgeted for roads and curbing in 2015, whereas this year $1.2 million will be spent on road resurfacing and $250,000 on curbs and drainage for the roads being repaved. An outside agency will be used to prioritize which roads will be paved this year, he said.

After a second rejection by land use boards, the Wawa application is under litigation again, Cooney said (See: No Wawa for Pine Brook). Grau said the building on the property is falling down and Cooney said unfortunately it would be expensive to take down the building.

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