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Condo Dwellers Oppose Heliport, Condos Next Door

11/8/1989 - by Alice Gallagher

Many residents of the 1,000-unit Governor's Point townhouse development contend they were misled by sales agents, who they say did not fully inform them about a proposed commercial site next to the homes they bought.

The residents claim sales agents never told them about plans to build about 1 million square feet of office space on land adjacent to Governor's Point.  They also maintain no one ever mentioned a heliport planned for the site and expressed safety concerns.  were specifically upset about the proposed heliport, and some residents said helicopters, Many now land at the site.  

About 25 residents recently signed a petition showing their opposition to the heliport and their concern about potential "excessive truck traffic and inadequate buffering" between them and the Commerce Center commercial site. 

"People were irate, they were shocked," said resident John Hubka.  "No one was aware of the extent of the Commerce Center."  A spokesman for Hovnanian noted that the projects plans included the heliport and commercial site, and some residents conceded that they should have looked further into the matter before buying townhouses.

Hubka and Jerry Wahl have spearheaded a movement among residents to fight the proposed heliport and commercial development.  About 50 Governors Point residents attended a Township Council meeting Meeting to seek local official's help.  Many were specifically upset about the proposed heliport, and some residents said helicopters now land at the site.

 "I've seen about two so far," said Governor's Point townhouse development resident Miriam Rubin. "It's very shocking to see a helicopter only a few feet off of your car." A spokesman for K. Hovanian Companies of Red Bank, the developer said he was not aware of any helicopters now landing on the lawn of the Route 1 site, but noted that the did have federal aviation approval for the air traffic.  

The green light for the heliport was granted several years ago when the Planning Board granted preliminary site plan approval for the project.  The project will include 1,000 multi-family units and 1 million square feet of office space, which is expected to include 8-story buildings and the heliport.  Approximately 600 housing units and 130,000 square feet of office space have been constructed.

Mayor Paul Matacera tried reassure residents that the heliport -- actually, he said, it would be a "helipad" - would only be used for corporate business and not commercial ventures.  "We were trying to attract a certain type of corporate client," Matacera said, and stressed he would be opposed to any type of commercial venture at the site.  He added that heliports were now oprating at Johnson & Johnson and Webcraft, both located on Route 1 near Governor's Point, as well as other business sites in North Brunswick.

Hovanian spokesman Peter Reinhart confirmed the heliport would not be a commercial venture and may not even be built for several years because the market for office space along Route 1 is so sluggish.  "When we're starting to finalize plans for that section -- which I don't expect to occur for a few years -- we plan to meet with the residents and try to work out their needs," Reinhart said.

As for the claims that the home-buyers were led astray by sales agents, Reinhart said, "I can't comment on what someone thinks someone said several years ago." "If any comments like that were made, they certainly weren't authorized by the company," he said.  "The site plan clearly shows the plan for the future commercial development."

Read original copy of the article here.