The following letter is from former Manalapan Planning Board member Herb Lazar.
On July 26, the Manalapan Planning Board will consider changing the zoning on the land behind the library on Symmes Drive to permit retail establishments.
Right now that land is zoned for an office park. The proposal will permit 105,000 square feet of retail PLUS additional commuter parking spaces [either 400 or 100 additional; it's unclear how many]. Also included will be a 4 way traffic light on Symmes so you can get to the new property and the Epicenter.
This will cause a traffic nightmare, especially on weekends. The traffic study done by the property owner shows that traffic on Rt. 9 and Symmes is already bad and will get significantly worse. Retail will produce more traffic than an office building would produce. Traffic might back up from the new light, past the jughandle, to Rt. 9.
The Symmes traffic light will NOT meet the State safety standards as it will be too close to Rt. 9. Not only will Symmes be effected, but the streets and jughandles at Ryan and Taylor Mills will necessarily get worse. Drivers will use Taylor Mills, Tennent and Craig to avoid Symmes.
I’m all for economic development and increasing the municipal tax base. But this is crazy. Please come to the July 26 Planning Board meeting at at 8 p.m. and voice your concerns. Even if you don’t speak, your presence will be felt.
Also, please send letters [120 Rt. 522] to Mayor Susan Cohen, Deputy Mayor Donald Holland, the Township Committee and the Planning Board [email addresses on the Township Website] or call them [732-446-3200]. Let them know that a short term tax ratable is not worth a long term traffic nightmare.
- Herb Lazar