Real Estate

Watchung Opposes Mixed-Use Development on Connell Property

7985f3c9600062084f0e_DSC09216.JPG
Steven Warner, who represents Watchung, lets the council know the Borough objects to the mixed-use residential development proposed for the Connell property. Credits: Barbara Rybolt
c3d52e7534c6d03d4603_DSC09218.JPG
Watchung Mayor Steven K. Pote listens intently to Attorney Steven K. Warner discuss the borough's objection to the rezoning of the Connell property to include mixed-use residential units. Credits: Barbara Rybolt
3e18f9124fd69c4481a8_DSC09224.JPG
DIscussing whether to stay or go are, on the left, Watchung Mayor Stephen K. Pote and Attorney Steven K. Warner. Credits: Barbara Rybolt
7985f3c9600062084f0e_DSC09216.JPG

BERKELEY HEIGHTS, NJ - Citing traffic issues and worries about sewer capacity, the township was put on notice last week that Watchung objects to the rezoning of the Connell Property to allow a mixed-use residential development with an affordable housing component.

Attorney Steven Warner, a partner with Ventura, Miesowitz, Keough & Warner, let the council know of the borough's objections. He was retained by Watchung after the Township Planning Board adopted a Master Plan Reexamination Report on May 17 that recommends the rezoning of 500 Connell Drive, to permit a mixed use residential development project with affordable housing units. It is currently zoned for an office building. 

Warner came to the May 23 meeting with Watchung Mayor Stephen K. Pote and two others from the borough. The Master Plan Reexamination Report can be found on the township's website.

Sign Up for E-News

Warner spoke to the council during the public hearing on an ordinance "Amending, Revising and Supplementing the Township and Use Procedure Ordinance to Amend the Affordable Housing Regulations Set Forth in Part 18A." While this ordinance does not specifically mention the Connell property, should the recommended zoning changes take place, it in theory could apply to the 500 Connell Drive property.

Watchung borough's opposition includes, but is not limited to, both the traffic that will be generated by the addition to the Connell property of a mixed-use residential property  and "the sewer capacity," he said.

Township Attorney Joe Sordillo said the council hasn't yet received the Master Plan Re-examination, but expected it to be on the agenda for the next meeting. As for the contents of the ordinance, these are "general affordable housing ordinances in connection with Fair Share" settlements -- one is a "set-aside ordinance," which requires any development of five units or more to set aside for affordable housing either 20% of the housing in a development in which homes will be sold or 15% of the housing in rental developments. The second ordinance amends the affordable housing regulations to be consistent with the terms of the settlement agreement reached with the Fair Sharing Housing Center. 

"If all goes as planned, these two ordinances will have nothing to do with Connell. There will be a separate implementing plan that will be presented" for that property, said Sordillo.

Warner said from his perspective, "these can be seen as facilitating the project by Connell ... I want to confirm my understanding that there will be a first reading on an implementing ordinance in the future."

Sordillo said, "the Master Plan has not yet been drafted." After which the Master Plan will have to be ratified by the governing body and no one knows "when it will happen."

Council President Marc Faecher, the point person for affordable housing for the township, said the original master plan "contemplated there would be another office tower at 500 Connell Drive. We are talking about the substitution of the residential use for what was going to be an office use."

It was agreed that Warner would keep in contact with the clerk and that he and Watchung would be kept up to date on meetings related to rezoning of the Connell property.

The public first heard about the possibility of mixed-use housing replacing a previously approved office building at the Nov. 10, 2015 meeting of the Township Council. 

During the conference session, Shane Connell gave a Power Point presentation on the Connell Development and indicated the firm was interested in adding multi-family residences and retail properties to the mix. He suggested they could add 312 to 328 mixed-use residential rental units, plus a parking garage to the area that was zoned and approved for an office building. To do this, the township would have to rezone the area. To read about the meeting, visit the Township's website.

According to the minutes of the Oct. 4, 2016 meeting, the  Court set a Fairness Hearing date of Oct. 17, and wanted the Settlement Agreements for Locust, Kings, Movie Theater and Connell approved at that hearing. This led to the township setting a special meeting date of Oct. 13, to deal with the matter, since the next scheduled meeting of the Council was.

According to the minutes of the Oct. 13, which started shortly after 6 p.m., the meeting was 13 minutes long, during which the council  adopted resolutions approving the Settlement Agreements with: Berkeley Heights Developers for the Kings property; Berkeley Developers for the Locust Property and Lockhorn for the movie theatre property. The council also approved the the Developer's Agreement with Connell for 500 Connell Drive. 

The day after the Fairness Hearing was held, Oct. 18, 2016, Faecher reported the results of the hearing, including further actions to be taken and deadlines to be met during the the Township Council Reports portion of the meeting. 

The next meeting of the council is scheduled for 7 p.m., Tuesday, June 13, in Town Hall, 29 Park Ave. 

TAP Into Another Town's News:

You May Also Be Interested In

Sign Up for E-News

Warren

Bee Day at Hanson Park!!

May 20, 2018

Please join the Hanson Park Conservancy on Saturday, June 23rd for Bee Day at Hanson Park!  At 2:00 PM Grant Stiles from Stiles Honey will be sharing his knowledge of bees with his presentation, “Fundamentals of Beekeeping and the Importance of Honey Bees in Our Society.”  Bring your blankets and chairs and enjoy the beautiful surroundings as Mr. Stiles answers all of your ...

Golf Outing On May 26 Benefits Retired Racehorses

MILLSTONE TOWNSHIP, N.J. —May 29, will mark Standardbred Retirement Foundation's (SRF) 26th Annual Charity Golf Outing being held at the beautiful Battleground Country Club in Manalapan, N.J.

This much anticipated event is held in conjunction with SRF's online auction which will open for bidding beginning Friday, May 25 and end at 7 p.m. on  Thursday, June 7. The outing ...

Upcoming Events

Carousel_image_67c8ffc06fa8f1db5cd0_22b088bd-9913-4530-ad3b-981f9ad2ba55

Sat, May 26, 11:00 AM

Home For Good Dog Recue, Berkeley Heights,

Dog Adoption

Other

Wed, June 6, 10:00 AM

Summit Free Public Library, Summit

Workshop on New Jersey Sales Tax for business ...

Business & Finance Education

Obituaries

Jul 28, 1955 - Feb 8, 2018
Owner/Chef of Jaret’s Stuffed Cupcakes  Beloved Husband, Father, Brother and ...
Read more

Belmar Mayor Grants ‘Larry the Lobster’ His Freedom to Kick Off New Jersey Seafood Festival

May 19, 2018

BELMAR, NJ — Belmar Mayor Brian Magovern wasn’t going to let the rough ocean surf and high winds get in his way yesterday of pardoning “Larry the Lobster” to begin the New Jersey Seafood Festival.

Instead, Magovern moved the May 18 event from the Fifth Avenue beach to the quieter waters of the Shark River Inlet. Accompanied by a small group of borough officials and ...

Food to Travel For - Two Jersey Shore Dining Hot Spots in National Limelight for Specialty Eats

BELMAR, NJ — Two Belmar specialty eateries have made the national food-hopping map. Coney Waffle Ice Cream and Sweet Shop on Ocean Avenue and Hoagitos in Belmar Plaza are featured this month on television shows touting what makes them stand out from the rest.

The over-the-top ice cream creations of Coney Waffle are in the spotlight in Viceland’s “The Ice Cream Show” in ...

WHRHS Baseball: Roxbury Baseball Powers Past Watchung Hills

May 19, 2018

ROXBURY, NJ – The Roxbury High School baseball team won its 14th game on Friday, rolling over Watchung Hills 9-1 at home.

Offensively, Roxbury did its damage early, scoring twice in the second inning and then five more times in the third to take an early 7-0 lead.

Roxbury’s Will Findlay had two hits and Donovan Brady, Andy Axelson and Brian Dachowski all had base hits. In ...

WHRHS Boys Lacrosse: Bridgewater Upsets Watchung Hills in OT for SCT Title

BRIDGEWATER, NJ - So close. The Watchung Hills boys lacrosse team fell to Bridgewater-Raritan, in overtime, as the Panthers won a fourth-straight Somerset County Tournament title on Saturday, 5-4, at the Torpey Athletic Complex.

Watchung Hills took an early 3-0 lead in the first quarter with goals from Gavin DeFuria, Connor James, and Joe Rica. 

The last game the ...

DiGanci Named Interim Principal in Watchung, Meet and Greet Scheduled

May 23, 2018

 

WATCHUNG, NJ - Dr. Thomas DiGanci has taken over the helm of Bayberry School in Watchung and a meet and greet has been scheduled for Wednesday, May 23 at 9:30 a.m. 

DiGanci is a former principal of both Valley View School and Watchung Hills Regional High School. He will serve as interim principal at Bayberry School through the end of the school year.

The next ...

Hillsborough Man Sentenced for Bribing Doctors in $100M Test Referral Scheme

NEWARK, NJ – Five individuals including a Hillsborough resident  were sentenced Friday for bribing doctors in exchange for test referrals as part of a long-running and elaborate scheme operated by Biodiagnostic Laboratory Services LLC (BLS), of Parsippany, its president and numerous associates, U.S. Attorney Craig Carpenito announced.

Doug Hurley, 38, of Hillsborough and Kevin ...

North Plainfield Middle School Hosts Holocaust and Genocide Open House

NORTH  PLAINFIELD, NJ - All are invited to the 2018 North Plainfield Middle School Holocaust/Genocide Open House on Thursday, May 17 at 6 p.m. Students and staff will be on hand to serve as docents for a unique exhibit.

It is a museum in a school, created by the school, constructed by the school and for everyone in the community. featuring  over 400 posters, memorabilia and artifacts ...

WHRHS Boys Lacrosse: Bridgewater Upsets Watchung Hills in OT for SCT Title

BRIDGEWATER, NJ - So close. The Watchung Hills boys lacrosse team fell to Bridgewater-Raritan, in overtime, as the Panthers won a fourth-straight Somerset County Tournament title on Saturday, 5-4, at the Torpey Athletic Complex.

Watchung Hills took an early 3-0 lead in the first quarter with goals from Gavin DeFuria, Connor James, and Joe Rica. 

The last game the ...

Podcast: The Royal Wedding Through the Eyes of a Brit

May 19, 2018

In our May 18 podcast, Giles Bootheway, a British citizen who teaches at St. Bonaventure University, shares his thoughts on the Royal Wedding with TAPinto Greater Olean Co-editor Richard Lee.

PLAY

Sign Up for E-News to get top stories delivered daily to your inbox. 

Download the FREE TAPinto App!  Click here for Android - Click here for iOS to get ...

Charity Golf Tournament to Benefit Parkland Cares and the Jason Taylor Reading Room, May 17 -Travels Charity Spotlight -

PARKLAND, FL - Parkland Cares will hold a Charity Golf Tournament on Thursday, May 17 at Parkland Golf & Country Club, with 100% of the proceeds going to the Jason Taylor Reading Room and Parkland Cares.  The event is presented by Steven Douglas and former NFL player and Hall of Famer Jason Taylor will be in attendance.

Howard Dvorkin, CPA, is chairman of Debt.com and a 30-year ...

Food to Travel For - Two Jersey Shore Dining Hot Spots in National Limelight for Specialty Eats

BELMAR, NJ — Two Belmar specialty eateries have made the national food-hopping map. Coney Waffle Ice Cream and Sweet Shop on Ocean Avenue and Hoagitos in Belmar Plaza are featured this month on television shows touting what makes them stand out from the rest.

The over-the-top ice cream creations of Coney Waffle are in the spotlight in Viceland’s “The Ice Cream Show” in ...

'Turning Off the Morning News' brings comic twist

‘Turning Off the Morning News’ tackles today’s issues with a comic twist

By Liz Keill

PRINCETON, N J – Despite the late night comics, no one quite captures the insanity of the political/social status world like Christopher Durang.

His latest play, “Turning off the Morning News” hit the ground running.  John Pankow as Jimmy addresses the audience, ...

'To Kill a Mockingbird' Sustains Timeless Appeal

SUMMIT, NJ – The Summit Playhouse provides a stellar production of a much loved classic, “To Kill a Mockingbird.”

The Harper Lee novel, later a Gregory Peck film and now a stage production, retains all the warmth, intensity and integrity that made it such an appealing hit in the 1960s. And there will be a new production on Broadway in December with a script by Aaron Sorkin ...