Roxbury History Watchdogs Not So Happy with Merry Heart Plan

A view, looking south across Main Street, of houses owned by Merry Heart Senior Care
Property owned by Merry Heart Senior Center where parking lots planned

ROXBURY, N.J.  – A plan by Merry Heart Senior Center to convert into parking lots the backyards of two houses it owns on Main Street in Succasunna, and to create new driveways, is worrying some Roxbury history buffs.

The houses are directly across North Hillside Avenue from Merry Heart’s Route 10/Main Street complex. They are within the Succasunna Historic District, a designation that gives the Roxbury Historic Advisory Committee (HAC) the right to weigh-in on the proposal.

Merry Heart’s idea raised some concerns with the HAC. Some were mentioned in notes documenting the committee’s Aug. 15 meeting.

Sign Up for E-News

HAC members at the meeting pointed out that one of the houses owned by Merry Heart was built in 1884 and is officially designated as a historic building. They also said the project might be construed as an encroachment of commercial development into a residential area “at (the) gateway to (the) historic district.”

Those at the meeting also suggested the size of Merry Heart’s proposed driveway onto Main Street – 24 feet wide – was “twice as wide as residential” driveways and would leave little buffer between buildings or room for “vegetation,” according to the notes.

Additionally, HAC members said Merry Heart’s proposed work might harm any effort to have the area placed on the National Historic Registry, a designation that would come from the U.S. Department of Interior.

“They don’t want to see that being turned into a parking lot,” said Roxbury Councilman Richard Zoschak, who is the council’s liaison to the HAC and attended the Aug. 15 meeting. “The back yards are now going be parking lot, basically.”

 Zoschak noted the HAC has no authority to block the proposal from Merry Heart. “As long as they are within the Municipal Land Use Law, the zoning board can give them a variance to do anything,” he said. “That’s their purview … The only thing the Historic Advisory Committee can do is advise.”

However, Zoschak said he’s not enamored with the size of the driveway onto Main Street that’s being proposed. “They want to open up the driveway between their property and other side to make it pretty wide, 24 feet. That’s a road,” he said. “Do I have a concern with that? Yeah.”

Merry Heart’s lawyer, Patrick Dwyer of Succasunna, did not return a message. The senior center wants a zoning variance and design waiver relief. The zoning board is scheduled to discuss the plan on Nov. 14

Merry Heart argues that its proposal will be good not just for itself but also for the entire community. .

“Applicant’s use is inherently beneficial and promotes the public good by providing housing and care services for the aged, thereby having great benefit to the community,” said Merry Heart in a proposal letter. It said the parking lots will free on-street parking in the area now being used by Merry Heart guests and staff.

Roxbury Township Manager Christopher Raths agreed with Merry Heart’s assertion that the project would help with the area’s parking shortage.

He also noted Merry Heart's project might be seen as helping the township's effort to return a historic vibe to Main Street. The nursing home would have to install on Main Street the same type of fancy sidewalks and ornamental streetlights that were installed by the Main Street Streetscape Committee on the other side of the street, the manager said.

“There is a requirement for anybody who is developing in that area to provide sidewalks and lighting in same accord as what’s on the North side (of Main Street),” Raths said. “You’d get some nice improvements.”

TAP Into Another Town's News:

You May Also Be Interested In

Sign Up for E-News


Upcoming Events


Fri, May 25, 10:00 AM

Vapealicious VapeShop, Kenvil

Memorial Day Sale



Fri, May 25, 9:30 PM

Iron Hills Tavern, Ledgewood

Star Barkman at Iron Hills Tavern

Arts & Entertainment


Sat, May 26, 10:00 AM

Vapealicious VapeShop, Kenvil

Memorial Day Sale



Sun, May 27, 10:00 AM

Vapealicious VapeShop, Kenvil

Memorial Day Sale



SURVIVING A STROKE: Quick Medical Response Gives Mom Her Life Back

Carotid artery dissection. It’s one of the most common causes of stroke in younger adults.

And while you might not associate the word “stroke” with younger patients, the condition – if not treated immediately – could lead to paralysis and even death.

Lindsey Singh can attest to the importance of immediacy. The 31-year-old mother of two from Flanders experienced ...


AtlantiCast: Episode 15

On this week’s AtlantiCast, learn some important tips for controlling and avoiding diabetes from an Atlantic Health System expert, see how Atlantic Health is advancing cutting-edge research, hear what’s being done to keep health care environmentally friendly and much more!


Letters to TAPinto Roxbury

An Open Letter from Morris County Educators

May 9, 2018

May 8, 2018

To the editor,

We are writing on behalf of the more than 1,600 public school employees working in our schools.  We are proud of the work that we do, and we are the reason that our schools celebrate notable achievements and our students’ goals and dreams are often fulfilled. 

Today marks the annual Teacher Appreciation Day, a day in which our nation takes a ...

Lacking Respect

As a parent of children who have attended Kennedy Elementary School in Succasunna starting in 2010, I am very disappointed that you chose to use Mr Eric Renfors  “No Shave November photos” to announce his resignation.

They were clearly used in poor taste. He is a humble man who participates in many community fund raisers and teaches ...

Kent Libby of Roxbury Makes Worcester Polytechnic Dean's List

May 23, 2018

WORCESTER, MA - Worcester Polytechnic Institute (WPI) has announced that Kent Libby of Succasunna, a member of the class of 2020 majoring in robotics engineering and computer science, was named to the university's Dean's List for academic excellence for the spring 2018 semester.

A total of 1,474 undergraduate students achieved the criteria required for WPI's spring 2018 ...

Roxbury Area Students Make Bucknell Dean's List

LEWISBURG, PA - Six students from the Roxbury area earned the dean's list during the spring semester at Bucknell University.

A student must earn a grade point average of 3.5 or higher on a scale of 4.0 to receive dean's list recognition.

The students:

Sara Christian, Class of 2018 from Flanders, NJ

Mike DiDomenico, Class of 2018 from Succasunna, NJ

Owen Klinger, Class of ...

Eisenhower Middle School Announces Third Marking Period Honor Rolls

ROXBURY, NJ - Eisenhower Middle School announces the students who have earned High Honor Roll and Honor Roll for the third marking period of the 2017/2018 school year.

Students must have earned all A’s on their second marking period report card to qualify for high honor roll. Students must have a combination of A’s and B’s on their second marking period report card to ...

Press Releases

Calling all Singer-Songwriters - Earn Spot Opening Music Fest in June!

May 9, 2018

Fulfill your dream of performing at an established local Music Festival!  Two (2) talented local/area singer-songwriters will each be awarded a 15 minute spot to open the Groove in the Grove Indie Music Festival (the Festival)!

The Groove Acoustic Open Mic Challenge (the Challenge) will be held on Thursday, June 7, 2018 at Enzo’s Pizzeria, 382 Rt 46, Budd Lake, NJ starting ...

Root for Earth Week at The Goddard School of Randolph

RANDOLPH, NJ- The Goddard School of Randolph celebrated Earth Day with a week-long Root for Earth campaign. Our goals were to encourage a love of nature and an understanding of our responsibilities to the environment.

Pre-Kindergarten teacher, Ms. Brianna, planned and coordinated the week’s activities. These activities included a nature sensory bin, tree bark art rubbings, yard waste ...