Bunn Drive Housing Set for Review
A proposal to build the "Four Seasons," an age-restricted housing community on Bunn Drive, is slated to begin the planning process this evening.
First heard as a concept hearing by the Regional Planning Board of Princeton in April 2004, the formal application was submitted to the Planning Board by developer K. Hovnanian last October. It outlined a development for residents aged 62 and over with 140 units in five garden-apartment-style buildings, each three stories high. Tonight the application will undergo review by the Site Plan Review Advisory Board, and if it is approved, will go to the Planning Board for final review at an undetermined date.
The development faces some environmental obstacles: the landscape features rocky soil and shallow bedrock that may have to be blasted if underground garages are to be included. A similar blasting method was required to work through the bedrock beneath the nearby Campbell Woods development.
Additionally, any onsite blasting would have to be overseen to ensure that the Transco pipeline is not disturbed. The 85-foot-wide corridor that surrounds the pipeline runs directly through the proposed 20.9-acre site. Members of Princeton Township's Historic Preservation Commission (HPC) addressed their concerns Monday when the application appeared for review. The Bunn Drive area, while not a designated historic region, is a candidate for such classification. Nearby Mt. Lucas Road, however, is a historic road.
While Commissioner Robert von Zumbusch doubted that the area would ever reach historic status, he was encouraged that the application passed through the municipal channels for review. Acknowledging that while "there are a lot of things wrong" with the Four Seasons plan, he said there was little the HPC could recommend aside from placing a barrier along Mt. Lucas Road to preserve that road's rural character.
"There are a lot of reasons why this project shouldn't be built, but it's pretty difficult to say that there are historic reasons," he said.
However, HPC officer Christine Lewandoski observed that because the proposed buildings are to be between 45 and 47 feet in height, there would not be much room for screening.
The downward-sloping nature of the housing proposal's site, Mr. von Zumbusch said, will lessen the need for a barrier. At the initial April 2004 concept hearing, about 40 residents attended to voice opposition to the project. However, the increase in senior -housing in Princeton Township has long been identified by Mayor Phyllis Marchand as a goal of Township Committee.
The estimated value of a typical two-bedroom unit would fall in the mid- to upper-$300,000 range, according to Hovnanian officials.