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Planning Board Chairman John McNaboe Answers Your Questions

You asked - he answered!

After soliciting questions from the public about Manalapan planning, Planning Board Chairman John McNaboe has compiled a list of responses to your questions!

 

Q: What are the township plans for the Route 33 corridor?

A: It is my sincere belief that Route 33 will not ever become a Route 9.  The current “green belt” with berm requirements – set backs – large parcels -will prevent that. The zoning has been “tweaked” to allow for uses not envisioned or allowed for in the past. The Wawa is an example of a necessary evil.  Although it was a shame to lose many mature trees, Wawa is a clean and necessary operation to many other alternatives. Remember, the Municipal Land Use Law (MLUL) allows for development of the property. We have control in what is to be built, but not to stop all development because we do not want it.

 

Q: Is it possible to increase the amount of side walk space in Manalapan and make the town ‘bike friendly’ and ‘walk/jog friendly’?

A: There is a bike path/trail plan in the Township. I believe the Transportation Committee is always looking for additional input.  Please feel free to stop by a Transportation Committee meeting and bring up this idea. As always, the Mayor can be reached thru e-mail or at the Township Committee meetings.

 

Q: What is the status of the ‘village’. Is it on hold? Is the project dead?

A: “The Village” as it has been known, is at the corner of Route 33 and Route
527 (Millhurst Road). The total project is approximately 135 acres.  The developer has received a “General Development Plan” (GDP) approval to build about 500,000 s.f. of retail at this location.  This square footage is approximately the size of the Epicentre on Symmes Road and Route 9. It will include a supermarket and various other smaller stores, restaurants, banking, etc.  A portion of the property was subdivided for a solar field. Presently, there is a privately owned solar field on the western side of the property. The next move is up to the developer.  All the improvements to Route 33 and Route 527 and the new access to Route 33 are controlled by NJDOT.  This will happen at the start of the project. Again, here is an example of this Board controlling the “what”, not the “if”.

 

Q: What is the status of the MOM (Monmouth ocean Middlesex) rail line. Does Manalapan support that? Obviously the more mass transit we have the less crowded the roads would be.

A: The highly contested “MOM” line through Manalapan is an idea I would like to hear more about. I would certainly be interested in a detailed plan showing the train station location, crossing, speed projections, etc. I do not have enough details to speak about this matter.

 

Q: Are there township plans to install ‘charging stations’ for electric cars?

A: Great idea. Let me know how I can help you get it off the ground.  We have an Environmental Commission in town and I think that could be a start. I believe the private industry has built this nation – not government. I think the stores that people spend more time in like restaurants, retail and grocery stores are a great starting point. I think the library and park and ride will follow as the need arises.

 

Q: Where does the output from the solar farm electric (the one on Route 33, where the ‘village’ was supposed to be constructed)  go? Does the township get any benefit?

A: The town gets a tax benefit from the taxes paid by the owner. The amount is still in flux, but it is a ratable.  Testimony from the professionals hired by the developer stated that power generated and put into points along the grid will help stabilize it at times of heavy demand. All that being said, it is good, clean, green energy and I’ll take that any day.

 

Q: What is the ability to access the 'Special Needs Housing Trust/ Fund?

A: The Township has a Special Needs Council that meets every month. I do not know of a Housing Trust Fund, but there are informed people to ask on this subject.  Committeeman Ryan Green sits on our Special Needs Council.  He has a vast knowledge of this subject. This committee meets each month at Town Hall. Feel free to stop by a meeting. 

 

Q: What are the plans for expanding the Manalapan Recreation Center? Specifically, what is the plan for the the open land right on the border of Englishtown and Manalapan, the corn field?

A: I do not know of any plans to expand the Recreation Center at this time. There was a massive expansion just a few years ago. The town does own the land to the west of the Recreation Center. This was purchased with the future in mind.  I believe it will stay in its natural state for years to come.  Stop by a Recreation meeting for those in the know.

 

Q: Do the current proposed amendments to the Master Plan permit car dealerships on the property at the corner of Woodward Rd. and Rt. 33 west bound? Would such development have direct access to Route 33, or only by using Woodward Road?

A: Although there is still some work to be done, it is the belief of the majority of the Board that car dealerships be allowed on Route 33, on both north and south sides from Woodward Road west to the Millstone border.  There is great concern on my part to the residential area (i.e. Knob Hill).  If an application comes before the Planning Board, the need for mature buffers, trees and wetlands, manmade buffers, fences, berms, etc. will be looked at carefully.  When an application is presented, these issues will be examined.  The presentation will also show all ingress and egress and if access is permitted by NJDOT to Route 33. The DOT controls access to and from Route 33.

 

Q: Can I drill for oil on my front yard?

A: Drill here – drill now, but not in Manalapan. May I suggest a solar photovoltaic array on your roof, energy efficient windows and doors. Additional insulation is 90%+ efficient.  Maybe think of the electric car engine in #5 as first steps to energy independence.  

Claudine Scozzari September 27, 2012 at 11:53 AM
MOM Line will never be more than a "Pipe Dream", if the leaders of the affected communities don't push the NJDOT (and respective Operating Authority - b/c technically it need not be NJTransit) to organize the project. Manalapan and the surrounding affected communities, like Freehold, Howell, and Marlboro, are at build-out as it pertains to population growth. The majority of new housing developments are in place making planning for the new public transportation system easier than it was when the idea was first discussed over 20 years ago. The project has to be more than just "which piece of the pie do you have". It needs and takes leadership from the NJDOT professionals to obtain funding and the qualified staff/project teams to "get it done". As residents and homeowners of Western Monmouth County, collectively, the leaders of the communities affected should be demanding respect this idea requires for it's completion.
Tom Madden September 27, 2012 at 12:58 PM
Public comment is apparently just a formality before they vote for it anyway. I am appalled. There is overwhelming opposition to dealerships in Manalapan, for all the reasons we have been stating for a year. We do not need dealerships, it drastically changes the character of the town. Hundreds of residents have come out against it... the only people who want it are dealership owners, the planning board, town council, and former mayors who were paraded out to speak in favor of it. Appalling.
Claudine Scozzari September 27, 2012 at 01:05 PM
Out of curiousity, are the dealerships getting kicked out of Freehold, NJ for any particular reason? As of now, there are no dealerships in Manalapan.
Tom Madden September 27, 2012 at 01:25 PM
Used Car lot next to 7-11... haven't quite figured that one out yet.
Claudine Scozzari September 27, 2012 at 01:37 PM
Does that portion of the Township have permits in place for sanitary sewer line installation and sanitary sewer hook-ups for the buildings to be constructed?
Robert Kanner September 27, 2012 at 02:54 PM
The MOM line I know back in the 90's required all towns it would go thru to approve it and the seniors in Middlesex are against it. Back then I responded in a letter to the editor to their complaints: 1> will lower property values- response--It will raise them since the commute to the city would be easier; 2. Safetfor emergency vehilcle--response--not a coal train of 100's of cars and must fit into a station, the rest of the state has no problem with wait times at crossings; & 3. noise when trying to sleep--would not run 24 hours a day since they would be almost empty late at night. On bike paths it would be nice if the town converts Gordons Corner Rd. from 4 lanes to 3 like just east of Pease with the center lane for left turns and 4 feet shoulders for bikes
Manalapan Resident September 27, 2012 at 02:59 PM
why on earth would Manalapan allow car dealerships on route 33? do members of the planning board, zoning board etc own a piece of these businesses? I have lived in Knob Hill for 14 years and the "conveniences" we were promised would be there when we purchased our homes are always knocked down ("dont want 33 to become 9") so why on earth would we allow car dealerships? something doesnt smell right here.....car dealerships and overpriced drug stores?
Claudine Scozzari September 27, 2012 at 03:39 PM
First - To Manalapan Resident, KHov builds new homes with master bathrooms in the master bedroom, so you got your "Convenience". I wasn't the original owner; however the builder of my new resale had a master bathroom and a sitting area in the master bedroom. The issue in Manalapan is the issuance of permits by the NJDOT for all the construction proposed along the State highways. Manalapan is not walking community because none of the main roadways to all the "conveniences" have sidewalk. If you want the "City Life", you should have moved to Freehold. Route 33 is the State roadway to parts West, such as the Princeton area. With all of proposed "Traffic", traveling out of the area will be time consuming.
William Costakes September 27, 2012 at 04:20 PM
I don't agree with Mr McNaboe's last sentence:"We have Control in what is to be built,but not to stop all development because we don't want it!" I believe we put too much "trust" in Planning Boards. They have CONTROL in what is to be built. It should be that the tax paying people, who will have their lifestyles upset by these proposed major developments, - vote on the proposals of what should be - or not be built. A Planning Board will, unfortunately, always be suspect as any other Political body "representing the wants of their constituence". I feel as if these development projects are being pushed because "investors in some of these properties are looking for cash flow". If anybody did a proper demographic study of the rt 33 corridor, you'll find several empty stores going right up past E Windsor. What is left might go out of business if anymore competition is built. Is this all in the name of "ratables", or quality of life.
Sarah September 27, 2012 at 07:10 PM
Planning Board Meeting (Thursday) tonight at 8 PM at town hall. There will be public comments regarding the dealership issues. No 5 minute talk limit. Speak as long as you want about saving our town from our.planning board. They do not care, only about themselves. You can go to Freehol to buy a car. Preserve our rural look & put in smart development behind germs/trees. They may have a berm law, but nobody seems to have a copy of it and Mr. Cramer lied last year when he said dealerships could not go on 33 because of berm laws. Why is he still on plannning board when he lied. The Master Plan by our founders Is sound and honest. Why would we not keep it that way?
joe fontanelli September 27, 2012 at 07:47 PM
How many, if any, car dealerships have expressed an interest in building on 33 ? The domestic manufacturers have reduced the number of dealers in their networks and the imports seem to already have a comprehensive presence in the area. Is this a lot worry over a non- situation ?
John Jay September 28, 2012 at 08:35 AM
The economic outlook is pretty bleak, to say the least -- with record unemployment, a terrible economy, and nothing looking good for the next 5 years -- why would anyone want a car dealership?

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