If K. Hovnanian of Red Bank was allowed to add 200 homes on a tract at Allaire Road and Route 34, traffic flow at one of the township’s busiest intersections would be significantly improved, representatives of the developer said Wednesday.
John Rea, a Wall Township-based traffic engineer, told the Board of Adjustment at its regular meeting that the application to build 199 townhouses on a Route 34 tract would add far fewer cars to the congested intersection than if the parcel was built with the number of office buildings it is currently zoned to accommodate.
Not only that, but the developer has already had talks with the state Department of Transportation and garnered tacit agency agreement for a plan to pay for and install a traffic signal near Ridgewood Road on the northbound side of the state highway, allowing the traffic circle to empty during its most congested times, Rea said.
Rea’s testimony was part of the continuing pitch by K. Hovnanian to build the townhouse development on the 37-acre parcel, which is currently zoned for office buildings and commercial development. The developer also
“I believe this is a good application,’’ Rea said. “And it will assist an already bad situation at the traffic circle and make those movements operate more safely and efficiently.’’
The property is zoned for office buildings and commercial development, with a small piece zoned for residential development. The developer is asking the board to combine the three zones into one residential zone, allowing for the development.
The Township of Wall objects, arguing that the development runs afoul of the town’s master plan, which does not allow for housing in the Route 34 corridor. The Township Committee has sent its affordable housing attorney, Jeffrey Surenian, to represent the township at the hearings.
The application ran out of its 50-minute time limit Wednesday following Rea’s testimony. Rea was the second witness to testify. Prior to that, the company called an engineer to testify about the physical layout of the property and the proposed development. The board set May 15 for the next hearing.
Rea said the proposed development would generate an additional 98 cars onto Route 34 in the morning rush hour and 115 in the evening during weekdays. If the parcel was built out under its current zoning, with about 300,000 square feet of office space, that development would generate about 460 cars in the morning and 415 in the evening rush hours, Rea said.
“Clearly the proposed development would generate substantially less traffic,’’ Rea said.
K. Hovnanian plans to call a commercial realtor, a planner and a demographer as it continues making its case. The Township of Wall has yet to make its counter argument and the public also has not yet weighed in.
The project, which also includes 40 affordable housing units peppered throughout the development, proposes townhouses of 2- and 3-bedroom units of up to 2,200-square feet, with a starting price in the “high $300,000 to mid $400,000’’ range.
The affordable housing units would be peppered throughout the development, but would be smaller – 1,000 to 1,200 square feet -- and would not be equipped with a garage as the market rate homes would, company officials have said.
The development would include a clubhouse and pool area and would have one entrance/exit on Route 34 and two on Allaire Road. The development would cover only about 1/3 of the property and that the density would be about 6 units per acre, according to previous company testimony.