New zoning in works for village-style retail

Proposal targets 17-acre site at the intersection of Route 571 and Southfield Road in West Windsor.

By: Gwen Runkle
   WEST WINDSOR — Developer WWM Properties has been given a green light to continue work on its concept plan for a village-style retail center at the southeast corner of the intersection of Route 571 and Southfield Road.
   The township Planning Board voted unanimously Wednesday in favor of changing the zoning of the developer’s 17-acre site so that such a retail center could be built.
   The site is currently zoned for professional offices, but the township’s draft Master Plan recommends the site be changed to a new B-4, or retail, zone.
   To get the rezoning process moving as quickly as possible, the board decided its ordinance review subcommittee should begin work on drafting a B-4 zoning ordinance, which is expected to be ready for a review by the full board July 24.
   Meanwhile, the Planning Board also suggested WWM Properties present its concept plan to the Township Council, which ultimately will have to vote on the zoning change.
   The Township Council also would have to decide what to do with McGetrick Lane, which bisects the site diagonally.
   According to the concept plan, McGetrick Lane would have to be closed and removed, because the retail center would be built over it.
   The retail center would be made up of five free-standing buildings, including a Walgreen’s pharmacy with drive-through, a Yardville Bank, a day-care center and two other buildings for retail or office use.
   The buildings would be one-story with a uniform gabled roof and brick design.
   "This is not like a strip center," said Dave Roberts, a professional planner for WWM Properties. "The buildings will face each other and there would be no anchor store the size of McCaffrey’s across the way."
   Access to the center would be from both Route 571 and Southfield Road.
   WWM Properties professionals did not anticipate that the center would increase traffic in the area greatly, because the center was seen as more of a stop along the way rather than a destination, but they did say a more conclusive traffic study would be done.
   "The concept plan is not perfect," Mr. Roberts said. "But we feel it will be something that will serve the neighbors’ needs."