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Kings Highway Site Options to be Explored Monday

Three committeemen will discuss the creation of a possible subcommittee and potential uses for the piece of land.

One of, if not the biggest issue facing Washington Township residents in 2013 will be brought back to the forefront to start the new year, as three township committeemen will further discuss the development of a proposed apartment complex.

On Monday night, Jan. 20, committeemen Tracy Tobin, James LiaBraaten, and Donald Babb will again tackle the Kings Highway apartment complex development proposal, which has been batted around by the planning board and governing body for two years.

Kings Highway, LLC, has asked the town to consider rezoning an industrial-use site at the bottom of Kings Highway near the Mansfield Township border into a residential zone for the purposes of building a 208-unit apartment complex there. 

At a December committee meeting Michael Selvaggi, an attorney representing the development company, brought forth experts on traffic patterns and real estate market conditions for committee members to further understand the scope and consequence of the proposal.

The project, overall, has been met with much opposition by residents in that area of the township.

Related items:
Apartment Complex in Limbo Despite Expert Analysis
Apartment Complex 'Not What Our Town Needs'
Kings Highway Apartment Complex Scrutinized by Officials, Residents

Monday night’s meeting will include a discussion based on a memo from town planner David Banisch, in which he has asked the committee if it would be interested in exploring other options for the site, and if so, how to go about taking those steps, according to township administrator Andrew Coppola. 

Because any change from the industrial zoning would require input and approval from both the planning board and township committee, a sub-committee bringing together members of both could also be founded to explore the issue.

As of now, Kings Highway, LLC is not actually an applicant, rather, is just bringing the concept to township officials for consideration. If the township committee says it is in favor of making such a change – either rezoning or redeveloping – the development group would then go through the proper steps and process with the planning board as an applicant to the township. 

The meeting is scheduled for 7:30 p.m. at the Washington Township Municipal Building on Monday, Jan. 20. There will be opportunity for the public to speak during the meeting. 

Mayor Ken Short and Vice Mayor Bill Roehrich will not be part of the discussion due to conflicts of interest.

Not Domino January 16, 2014 at 04:20 PM
Since the property is industrial, how about if we build a gun factory there? The market for AR-15's is so hot right now, the supply can't keep up with the demand. Another factory would be good for the firearms industry, and would add much needed local jobs.
Maria January 17, 2014 at 07:23 AM
I am glad to read that the town is exploring other options for this site. If you disagree with the building of 208 apartments, there is still time to make your voice heard. https://www.change.org/petitions/no-overdevelopment-to-kings-hwy
K.Carlson January 17, 2014 at 10:11 AM
After reading this article, I am curious as to why both Mayor Ken Short and Vice Mayor Roehrich will not participate due to "conflicts of interest." Are they part of Kings Highway LLC?
Maria January 17, 2014 at 10:23 AM
@Not Domino - OR, how about a solar panel manufacturing and installation business? Think they would do well in the area, no rezoning needed, tax rateable, green industry, new jobs.
Jason Koestenblatt (Editor) January 17, 2014 at 02:04 PM
Sorry for the delayed response, K. Carlson, and thanks for the comment, Kevin. Yes, Mayor Short has used attorney Michael Selvaggi in the past two years for personal business (during the same time he has been representing Kings Highway, LLC to the township); and Vice Mayor Roehrich, like Kevin said, does own property within a close proximity to the site in question. This was mentioned in previous articles, including the ones linked to in this text, but I apologize for not clarifying it here. Thanks again!
History WT January 17, 2014 at 06:39 PM
To reiterate comments from last go-around: This project has absolutely no benefit to anyone but the owners. It threatens to dramatically raise our school population and budget well beyong the property taxes it would bring in. Just a handful of special ed children would explode the town into the red on the project, and the place will exactly be a magnet for families wanting Washington Township schools. There is NO reason for a zoning change like this, it would give these developers a lottery ticket of high density housing, a ticket we have denied to large landholders and good citizens like the Burds and the Orts over the decades in order to develop WT the way we did. The Cobblestone development would be overrun with people taking the shortcut (saving almost a mile and avoiding a bad left turn at busy PG/KW) to schools and town functions -- that has never been the case, hundreds of homes there, you can not compare it to the industrial usage in terms of traffic. Will some judge someday force this down our throats? Maybe, but lets have the pride of not doing it to ourselves.

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