An application to build nearly 200 homes on Route 34 at Allaire Road in Wall has been scuttled at the last minute, according to the planning office.
A division of K. Hovnanian Builders was scheduled to begin its pitch to the Board of Adjustment at Wednesday night's meeting, but the application was scrubbed from the agenda, the planning office said early afternoon Wednesday.
The application has been re-scheduled for Feb. 20. No reason was given for the delay.
Red Bank-based K. Hovnanian wants to build 199 townhouses on a 37-acre vacant plot at the state highway and Allaire Road. Twenty percent, or about 40 homes, would be reserved as affordable housing units, according to the proposal.
The property is not zoned for residential development, so K. Hov Shore Acquisitions – the company set up to make the pitch – is asking the Board of Adjustment for a variance in order to build the homes in what is now zoned for commercial purposes.
That could prove sticky. In order to grant the variance, K. Hov has to prove that their development is “particularly suitable’’ for the location and promotes the general welfare of the community. It also must prove that the proposal does not cause a “substantial detriment,’’ to the community, according to the first planning review of the site, prepared by Cheryl Bergailo of Taylor Design Group.
Bergailo’s report is not favorable. The report says that the request for the variance is so large that it would be, in effect, a re-zoning of the site. It recommends that the board consult its attorney for advice on whether it would be exceeding its authority in granting it.
“The Board should seek counsel from the Board Attorney regarding whether it has the authority to grant a variance so expansive in nature and impact that it infringes upon the governing body's exclusive power to zone,” it says.
It says the targeted plot has historically been designated for office or research use, dating back to 1999. It says the proposal is inconsistent with the township’s state-mandated Affordble Housing plan, which calls for development in other areas of town where exclusively affordable units would be built, not inclusionary developments such as the one proposed.