Perl Acres development to continue in Upper Freehold

BY JANE MEGGITT Correspondent

UPPER FREEHOLD — The two portions of the Perl Acres development will not have an internal connecting road.

The board agreed with the developer that changing a proposed box culvert to a cul-desac in the approved subdivision was not a substantial change. The 56-lot Perl Acres development off Sharon Station Road received final approval from the Planning Board in 1989. However, according to attorney Kenneth Pape, a neighboring property owner challenged the approval, and litigation went on over the next 15 years.

Pape appeared informally before the board on Nov. 23 to get its views regarding the proposed change. Planning Board Attorney Dennis Collins said that Pape wanted the board to determine whether the proposed change to the pre-existing approval is considered substantial.

“They have permits to build on the property as is,” Collins said.

Collins said if the board found the changes to be substantial, the developer would not risk his approvals and would build the proposed box culvert.

“Use common sense, and take the totality of the circumstances,” Collins advised.

Pape said the north side of the property extends to the stream corridor of Miry Brook Run, and the original plan was to develop an 11-foot-by-6-foot box culvert in an environmentally sensitive area to connect the two phases of the subdivision. He proposed to eliminate the culvert and terminate the road with a cul-de-sac. Maintenance of the culvert would eventually fall to the township, and could be expensive, he said. The proposed culvert lot is .1 acre, according to Pape. No variances are required, and the change is “green,” he said.

Township Engineer Glenn Gerken said that drainage would not go through the box culvert. The negative aspect of the change would be not having a connection between the two subdivisions, which would affect local deliveries, including the mail. Drivers would have to turn out onto Sharon Station Road to go into the other half of the subdivision, he said.

Board member J. David Holmes said that as a taxpayer, he would prefer not to have the township maintain the culvert on the waterway. Board member Trish Dorey said she would like to see a bike path connecting the two halves of the development. Dorey lives down the road in the Woods at Cream Ridge development, which also has two separate entrances onto Sharon Station Road with no connection between the two halves of the subdivision. She said kids ride their bikes down Sharon Station Road to get from one side to the other. Pape said his client could build a wooden pedestrian bridge, and noted the plans include sidewalks along Sharon Station Road that would connect the two phases. Gerken said the developer could use a prefabricated bridge.

A straw poll of the board indicated that no members thought the suggestion was a substantial change. Mayor Stan Moslowski Jr. and Bob Freiberger recused themselves from the poll. Board member Richard Stern called the plan a win for the town.

“Everything costs so much to maintain,” he said.