After months of litigation, the Lacey Township Planning Board approved the application for Lacey Town Village, a non-age-restricted housing development proposed at Laurel Boulevard and Route 9.
The due to various unanswered questions and the made to improve the plans, resulting in a court order.
Lacey Town Village was originally approved as age-restricted housing in 2005. The applicant re-approached the Planning Board with modified plans because legislation (S2577 1R) passed by Gov. Jon Corzine in July 2009 allowed developers to challenge towns over the age-restricted status of pending developments.
With 84 units (67 market rate units and 17 affordable units), some with the potential for three bedrooms, the development had 44 parking spaces planned. No on-street parking would have been allowed, because the development’s network of streets is 24 feet wide. The development would have had a 1,503-square-foot community center with a capacity of 139 people and 10 parking spaces.
The first hearing, held in July, laid out the legal issues. in an attempt to speed up the trial because they believe the board did not act in accordance with the Conversion Act, Planning Board Attorney Joseph Coronato previously said.
after the court ruled that they were entitled to have the conversion, Coronato said.
In an attempt to reach a settlement, Lacey Town Village made changes to the application.
The size of the units has decreased from approximately 2,200 square feet to 1,580 square feet. Each unit will now have a single car garage. The applicant eliminated the clubhouse and replaced it with the tot lot. There will be 81 parking spaces available. Additional walkways have been added and the network of streets is now 30 feet wide. The applicant also changed the storm water basin to an infiltration retention basin.
The applicant may now purchase “Road D,” a portion of Railroad Avenue, which was not originally included in the applicant’s CAFRA approval, for $37,000. The township committee will have to vote on the transaction. If approved, the applicant will then apply for an amended CAFRA approval.
The Planning Board "sold out the taxpayers once again," said Donna Bahrle, a resident and founder of the Lacey Rail-Trail Environmental Committee.
“Besides forcing the developer to pay for their approval for the Lacey Town Village Project which is unconscionable, now the taxpayers will have to maintain another road that is being built for a private property owner and at the same time push more children into the school district," Bahrle said. "We the Lacey taxpayers cannot afford anymore of this irresponsible and self-serving behavior.”
Lacey Town Village will have a homeowner’s association to maintain the property, which resident Regina Discenza questioned.
“I’ve seen homeowner associations go out of business,” she said. “I’m really worried that in these economic times a lot of people have a tendency not to pay their dues…A lot of it’s going to fall back on the township.”
Coronato said that that issue existed even when the project was approved project as age-restricted.
“This is a conversion. The difficulty of this is, is that this board did not approve the legislation,” Coronato said. “There is a right here…there is only one way the board could go.”
The board approved Lacey Town Village by a vote of 7 to 1 with member Dan Cortese opposing. Cortese had no comment.