EAST BRUNSWICK, NJ - On January 18, the East Brunswick Zoning Board heard an application by Ferris Farms of East Brunswick LLC, for variances to accommodate for 50 new townhomes at 690 Cranbury Rd (formerly Ferris Farms nursery). Ferris Farms of East Brunswick, LLC’s purchase of the property is contingent upon approvals of the variances they seek.
After an opening statement by attorney David Himelman, presentations were given by experts in engineering and architecture on behalf of the applicant. The property is 5.0 acres and currently zoned R1, for 1 home per acre. According to a presentation at the meeting, the applicant seeks use and bulk variances to allow for 50 town homes in 7 buildings. Each building will have 2 low income units. End units will have 2 car garages. Interior non-low-income units will have 1 car garages, and low income units will have parking spots in front of the unit. There are 2 and 3 bedroom homes. The design of the development is 1 straight street with buildings in a line on each side.
There is no appreciable open space, no clubhouse, no tennis courts or pool, no walking trails as is common in townhome developments, such as the neighboring Kingswood Estates. The only community amenity in the proposed development is a "tot lot." The proposed development will have a retention basin near Cranbury Road, which the engineer believed will be sufficient to handle the development water runoff. The homes will have no basements.
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According to standard zoning board public comment format, the public was only allowed to question the experts who spoke that evening, on the topics of engineering and architecture. No questions regarding planning (such as traffic) were allowed, as no planning expert spoke.
Many members of the public questioned the engineer and expressed concerns about water issues and flooding of neighboring properties. The single family neighbor to the north questioned whether the survey of the Ferris farms property was accurate, as he didn't believe it was. That resident and a resident across the street questioned the water runoff issues, as they said (and the engineer acknowledged) that runoff from Ferris Farms spills to the Kingswood retention basin and sometimes overflows that.
Residents from neighboring Dorchester Lane questioned the proximity of the rear of the homes to the property line (the applicant is asking for a variance on rear setback of the homes) and the impact it would have on their privacy. Another person asked why the engineer chose to put the buildings in a straight line as opposed to a more aesthetically pleasing winding road, like the neighboring Kingswood development. The response was limited space would not allow that while achieving the desired number of homes.
The next meeting to discuss the zoning variances required for the proposed 50 town homes on the Ferris Farms site on Cranbury Rd will be held on March 7th, 2019, at 8pm in the Council chambers in the Municipal Building.
There will be no further notification of this meeting by the zoning board. Interested parties are urged to tke note of the date and time.