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Holmdel Committee Sends Lucent Plans Back to Developer

The committee cited a lack of details on this round of the conceptual plans.

Conceptual maps for Holmdel's Alcatel-Lucent property were sent back to the developer after the township's committee asked for more detailed plans.

"I was expecting something a lot more elaborate," Mayor Patrick Impreveduto said. "We're back to the drawing board."

Committee concerns included open space preservation and a lack of traffic studies as well as the size and amount of proposed housing for the property.

Somerset Development proposed two conceptual plans with age restricted housing, a sports complex and and a fitness facility.

Once plan proposed 225 homes, the smallest being over 2,500 square feet. A second plan proposed 225 homes of the same size in a different configuration.

But the plans lacked detail, Impreveduto said. "You got what we got."

Impreveduto told The Independent that he would like to see more plans for the existing Lucent building on the property to include township offices and a recreation facility. 

“I want the vista to remain the same, so that when the townspeople drive down Crawford’s Corner Road they wouldn’t see anything except the building. I wouldn’t want to see anything too intrusive, anything that would have a negative impact on that view," Impreveduto told The Independent.

Larry Fink, former Township Committeeman and Holmdel Mayor, said he believes the language of the township's redevelopment plan should be more specific. Fink said he fears Somerset has too much wiggle room with the current plan, and the township will continue having to reject conceptual models.

"We need to guide the developer," Fink said.

Impreveduto assured Fink and other residents in attendance at the Township Committee meeting that the developer has been told what Holmdel is looking for, and specifics will be included in the developer agreement, not the redevelopment plan.

"Believe me, we are not sleeping on this," the mayor said. "We have four lawyers and a team of engineers on the project."

Many residents believe the size and price of housing takes the development off the market for senior citizens, the age group homes are being marketed to.

"The age group that they are theoretically being marketed to doesn't want to buy them," Holmdel resident Ralph Blumenthal said.

The fear among many residents in attendance was that the homes would be built as age restricted homes, but would be put on the market as affordable housing once homes don't sell. Affordable housing opens the development up to qualifying lower income families, which could put further stress on surround traffic and the Holmdel school district.

Deputy Mayor Eric Hinds said the committee can ask for market research to back up pricing models and home sizes, but can't restrict what types of homes are built.

Conceptual planning meetings have been conducted in executive session, but Impreveduto said the committee will keep residents up to date on everything it is legally allowed to speak of during negotiations.

"We're in the early stages, this is the time to send us your ideas."

Residents with suggestions for the property are encouraged to email Township Administrator Maureen Doloughty mdoloughty@holmdeltownship-nj.com

Robert Way January 24, 2013 at 02:00 AM
No worries Jennifer, no conspiracy theory finger-pointing from me. I will admit, the 2800-3400 sq./ft "age restricted" units raised a flag with me when I first read about them. I understand the legislation I linked to above allowed things in the pipeline before a certain date to apply for conversion, there also seemed to be an option for a 24 month extension as depicted by the following; C.45:22A-46.11 Submission of application to approving board. 9. An application for approval to change a development from age-restricted to non-restricted status, pursuant to section 4 of P.L.2009, c.82 (C.45:22A-46.6), may be submitted to the approving board at anytime before the first day of the 25th month next following the effective date of P.L.2009, c.82 (C.45:22A-46.3 et seq.); provided, however, that the approving board may extend this time period by an additional 24 months if it finds, at the end of the initial period, that poor economic conditions continue to adversely affect the real estate market in New Jersey. Nick/Nicole, did the Twp. Attorney actually walk through WHY it would be illegal for the developer to try and convert at a later date, or did he just SAY it was illegal?
Nicole Magnotti January 24, 2013 at 09:38 PM
Robert, I don't recall all of the details, but he did explain why it is illegal. From what I can recall the time to do a "conversion" has lapsed and it can no longer be done. I believe that everyone is on the same page in stating that nobody wants to see the age restricted houses converted to regular housing. As a community we need to make sure that doesn't happen.
Larrabee M. Smith January 28, 2013 at 07:55 PM
Jennifer, You are right that they can't build anything they want but PLEASE don't meniton commercial as allowed under the Zoning of the property. It was restricted to Office/Laboratory uses. I wrote the words when we tightened the limitations on use. I was the Chairman of our Planner Board (66 though 70) at the time. The limitations were to accommodate the now present building and nothing more. The term commercial includes retail, doctor's offices, real estate offices, etc and generate traffic dramitically larger than OL uses. The traffic that can be expected from the building alone, if Zucker's proposals are successful, could well be higher 12 hours of each day and seven days a week than Lucent's peak traffic 1 hour in the morning and 1 hour in the evening but only during week days.
Mrs. G. Kumar April 05, 2013 at 03:13 PM
Thank you to all the posters here who have contributed very useful information about this issue. As a Holmdel resident, I am also very concerned about the future of the Alcatel-Lucent property. From 1985 through the closing of the building, my husband worked there. I was fortunate to see the glory days of the old Bell Labs, a very respected, world famous and prestigious institution among scientists and engineers. Thousands of patents in the computer & electrical engineering arena were created here. You could not be on the internet, using a cell phone or your PC without the science that was created within that building. It is sad to see the building sitting idle for so many years. Tearing down the building and then constructing new buildings? Why not just use this wonderful building. There is plenty of room for several companies, office space, movie theaters, restaurant(s) etc. in the existing building. It's a quarter of a mile long, rises six stories, and has an interior atrium that is the length of the building that goes right to the top which is all skylight. The main level is an expansive open space. If you haven't been inside, then you have no idea what a wonderful space this building is. It is meant for a future that could make Holmdel a magnet for research/technical/business companies again. Eight thousand people worked there and it never felt crowded.
Jennifer April 05, 2013 at 06:43 PM
I loved that building also, and spent many hours in the library in the atrium while I was in graduate school. However. That building has serious indoor air quality issues, mold, and undoubtedly asbestos sprayed everywhere in the ceilings, as that was the fireproofing standard at the time. The HVAC was is outdated and very inefficient, and it would cost A LOT of money to bring it up to modern standards. The offices have no windows, but the rest of the space is one, open, dinosaur as far as heating and cooling. I would rather see anything there that benefits the town as a whole, than trying to preserve an aging white elephant that may turn into a Trojan horse for something undesirable.

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