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County Scores Master Plan

11/22/71 -

The township’s new master plan has been criticized by the county for failing to provide balanced-income housing for overzoning for industry and for failing to consider regional solutions, including future water supply problems.

The criticisms are contained in a 23-page evaluation of the plan by the Middlesex County Planning Board in terms of regional planning needs. Also discussed are road and transit systems, open space, water and sewer facilities, and financing.

Mayor Fred Gilbert termed the housing proposals idealistic but unfeasible until homeowners secure relief from their

cholas Kehayas, planning consultant from Kehayas Associates which drew up the master plan, says that many of the issues in contention could have been resolved by a meeting between the county and township planning boards.

Introduction of the master plan by the Planning Board is scheduled for tomorrow. The zoning ordinance and land-use , map which implement the plan already have been introduced by the Township Committee and the public hearing it set for Dec. 6.

While acknowledging that North Brunswick is not alone in facing severe pressures to zone for higher-priced housing and that the answer to the housing problem cannot be found at the municipal level, the county recommends that the township provide more higher-density and multi-family housing. 

Included in the housing recommendations are:

• Significant areas planned for four or more single-family homes per acre and for town house developments.

•    Apartments with three or more; bedrooms.

•    Maintenance of older houses, introduction of low — and moderate—income units, and support for a regional public housing program.

A floating planned unit housing community in industrial land to redress the imbalance between job growth and housing opportunities.

“It’s idealistic,” said Gilbert, adding that no town can afford higher-density housing until there is some relief from real estate taxes and school costs.

The mayor noted that the township already has a code enforcement program in effect for its older housing.

To Kehayas, it is a question of regional planning versus self-sufficient municipalities. Being next to New Brunswick, the township feels it can draw on the city’s available pool of low-income labor without providing housing for all these workers, he said.

The township has areas zoned for 3.5 houses per acre, higher in density than many of the communities surrounding New Brunswick, according to Kehayas.

Rental units with three or more bedrooms can be located in any single- or two-family residential area in the township, Kehayas said, but not in garden apartments where they usually result in maintenance and service problems.

Both Kehayas and Gilbert disagreed with the county contention that inadequate land is proposed for housing and both opposed the “floating zone.”

Also in conflict are the township and county population and job projections for the year 2000. In the township master plan, the population is estimated at 33,100 and the jobs at 

to the county, including a solution to future municipal and industrial competition for water rights to the Delaware and Raritan Canal.

The county estimates the township will exceed its present water supply capacity of 10 million gallons per day by 6.2 mgd in 1985 and by 10.8 mgd in 2000, and recommends increased water - supply facilities and storage to meet peak demands by 1985.

This is higher than the township’s estimate and inconsistent with the county estimate of the township’s sewage flows in those years, according to Gilbert. Sewage amounts should closely resemble water usage, Gilbert said — not be nearly one-half as the county estimates are.

Gilbert also disregarded any danger of running short of water, saying that the township could contract with the Elizabethtown Water Co. if necessary.

The county recommendations that Route 1 become an eight-lane freeway and that the proposed Bound Brook - Toms River 

Toll Road be included in the master plan both were opposed by Kehayas and Gilbert.

Kehayhs said the commercial development along Route 1 is not conducive to freeway design and that since the township is opposed to the shore toll road, any alignment would be shown south of the township in South Brunswick.

Widening proposals for Route 27, Finnegans Lane, Davidsons Mill Road and Church Lane were endorsed by Kehayas in a memorandum to the Planning Board. However, Gilbert said the township has been trying for years to get the county to widen Finnegans and Church Lanes.

The county wants the township to deal with mass transit in its master plan—including a discussion on maintenance of
present transit, proposals to relate housing and job densities to transit, and support for regional and state efforts.

Weston’s Mill Pond watershed lands should be designated as open space because of their “irreplaceable value for water supply protection and outdoor recreation” and the towhship’s several streams should be protected, according to the county.

Much of the area is now zoned for industry, but Gilbert pointed out that Rutgers University owns most of the Weston’s Mill Pond tract.

Kehayas has concurred in the pond land recommendation and indicated that several streams are protected through proposed open space and park development and in the proposed zoning ordinance.

A proposal that the master plan consider local financing alternatives to the property tax was rejected by Kehayas as out of the township’s province. However, Kehayas agreed that “dependence on the property tax conflicts with sound development.

Read the original article here.