Township handling of a controversial $16 million planned unit development proposal, already granted tentative site plan approval by the planning board, is being labeled “profit planning” by the two Republican township committee candidates.
James Welch and Allan Dzwilewski called on taxpayers t o attend tonight’s planning board meeting to prevent what they said was "further profit planning for developers” in the proposed North Oaks Development Corp. PUD between Route 1 and Livingston Avenue.
Tonight’s hearing to determine whether the proposed PUD is in general conformity with the provisions of the master plan has been ordered by Superior Court Judge Morton I. Greenberg.
It is the result of a suit challenging the township’s planned unit development ordinance and was filed by residents of Patton Street, Bell Avenue and-Newton Street who sought to have approvals voided.
“Our fear is that the meeting will be a device for further builder favoritism in this project,” said Welch.
He noted a zoning amendment passed last month allows half the townhouses in a unit development to three bedrooms. “We’re afraid the application will be amended to seek approval for half of the townhouses to have three-bedroom units,” Welch said.
The Republicans charged that with three-bedroom units, the proposed PUD would increase the population by 2,000 residents — many of them children. Dzwilewski and Charles Nicola, the Democratic candidates, said the GOP statements were “complete with inaccuracies and misinformation” on planning board hearings and added that the population figures were not substantiated.
The Republican release said drainage on the site was “uncontrolled in open ditches, instead of being properly piped to the natural drainage basin in Farrington Lake.”
In August, the planners refused to allow the applicants to use open ditches to drain the building areas, the Democrats noted.
The Republicans also charged that buffers to adjoining residential Patton Street were 30 feet instead of the usual 100 feet and that open space and planned recreation areas contain detention ponds.
“How would the Republican candidates know anything about the testimony elicited during the 13 public hearings — when Welch didn’t attend any and Dzwilewski wasn’t even a resident of the township when the hearings were held approximately one year ago?” the Democrats asked.
The Democrats also said neither candidate has attended a planning board meeting during the last three years.
Welch and Dzwilewski said the developers, Joseph E. Sha-my and John Lynch Jr., “should provide the planning board and public with a statement for the record as to whether they want to change the tentative approval to include three-bedroom townhouses.’1
The GOP candidates said the change should not be permitted without “substantial revision and further study of the plan.” They added that traffic volume would have to be reassessed as would the impact on the school system.