Elon Associates homes gain initial approval

Staff Writer

An applicant with longstanding plans to build a residential development in Howell has received preliminary approval for the project.

Elon Associates plans to build 69 single-family homes, a commercial building and one building containing 10 affordable housing units at Yellowbrook Road and Route 524, Howell.

The Planning Board granted preliminary approval at a recent meeting subject to the submission of a traffic study at the intersection of Route 33 and Yellowbrook Road.

Yellowbrook Road runs between Route 524 and Route 33.

The application dates back to the 1990s and at one point was the subject of litigation between the developer and the municipality.

Attorney Salvatore Alfieri represents Elon Associates.

Traffic engineer Justin Taylor, who represents the applicant, said his analysis of the area determined that the intersection of Yellowbrook Road and Route 524 operates at an appropriate level of service.

“It is my opinion that there is sufficient capacity in the adjacent road system to handle the traffic that will be generated by this project,” Taylor said.

Taylor said the intersection of Route 33 and Yellowbrook Road was not studied as it is anticipated that about 20 percent of traffic will be traveling north on Yellowbrook Road.

“It is our belief that not all of (the traffic) will reach Route 33. You have Cranberry Road and a new traffic signal going in (at Route 33 and) Colts Neck Road which gives much better access to and from here. We think most of that traffic will be heading east on Route 33. If you would be going west on Route 33, you would probably take Route 524 to Fairfield Road and get on the interchange there. We do not think the impact (at) Route 33 and Yellowbrook Road is really substantial from this development,” Taylor said.

Board Chairman Stephen Johnson expressed concern with the effect traffic could have in the future.

“There is a lot of truck traffic on Yellowbrook Road, commercial truck traffic, and also a shooting range. We do not want to hear from residents who will be buying at (the Elon Associates) property, complaining to the Township Council or the Planning Board later that there is too much traffic,” Johnson said.

Alfieri said the developer previously agreed to notify future residents that the shooting range is nearby. tion is to make sure access points (to the development) operate safely and efficiently and if there is an impact from our project offsite, to contribute our fair share. We have agreed to do both,” he said.

During the public portion of the meeting, attorney Brendan Judge, representing George Harms Construction, Yellowbrook Road, expressed concern with the traffic impact on Route 33.

“There is an ordinance requiring the applicant to provide the engineer with existing and future peak hour flows at the offsite improvement, in this case, the intersection of Route 33 and Yellowbrook Road,” Judge said.

Johnson agreed an updated traffic study was needed.

“I would like to see the traffic study refreshed before we give any kind of final approval on this application. From my perspective, I think that is pretty critical. They have preliminary (approval), but they don’t have the final,” Johnson said.

Voting yes on a motion to grant preliminary approval to Elon Associates, pending the submission of a traffic study at Route 33 and Yellowbrook Road, were board Vice Chairman Paul Schneider, board members Arthur Fankhauser, Robert Nash, Brian Tannenhaus and Thomas Boyle, and Johnson.