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Matawan Considers Mixed Use Development Ordinance for Route 34 and Broad

A section of Route 34 in Matawan near Walgreens may soon be zoned for a mixed use development. A public hearing will be held for the proposed ordinance at the council's Oct. 2 meeting.

The Matawan Borough Council is considering an ordinance that would re-zone two pieces of property at the intersection of Route 34 and Broad Street behind Walgreens for a mixed use development. The ordinance was reviewed and prepared over several months by the Unified Planning/Zoning Board.

The four page document is specific, governing every detail from permitted commercial uses to how a building constructed on the site should look.

Mayor Paul Buccellato explained that the council wants to ensure that a builder creates a mixed use development that is not only intelligently designed but also aesthetically fits in with the character of the borough.

"I wanted [the ordinance] very specific so whatever comes before the planning board will have guidelines for architectural features or setbacks or height or so forth," Buccellato said.

According to the ordinance, "The purpose of the Mixed Use Development District is to promote the development of compact, self-contained, transit oriented, mixed use development that incorporates both non-residential and multi-family residential development compatible with adjoining residential, non-residential and public areas."

"We're trying to put in good quality development in the borough to generate revenue," Buccellato said.

Permitted Uses and Structures

The ordinance specifies that no residences can be built at ground level and that no building can be strictly designated for multi-family residences, with a requirement that a minimum of fifty percent of the total floor area of the development must be designed for residential use.

Municipal offices, civic centers, community facilities and certain business and commercial uses are deemed appropriate for the development.

Retail businesses are limited to prepared and packaged foods, furniture and home furnishings, antiques, jewelry, electronics, books and stationary, drug stores, health and beauty products, music and musical instruments, clothing and accessories and sporting goods.

Personal service establishments permitted in the development include real estate, insurance, banking and financial services, legal, engineering, architecture, accounting, medical, barber and beauty shops, credit agencies, servicing and repair of electronics, mail and shipping services, education and learning centers, and dance and martial arts schools.

Also allowed to operate within the development would be banks and financial services; general business offices; medical offices but not veterinarians; restaurants, excluding drive-up and drive-through facilities; delicatessens; government offices and services; bars and taverns; sports and fitness centers; and child and adult day care facilities. Nightclubs would be excluded.

Additionally, walls, fences, swimming pools, kiosks, sidewalk café seating, fountains, flagpoles, clock towers, statues, street art, bus shelters, taxi stops and bicycle racks are permitted.

Parking

Parking was a topic of much discussion while developing the mixed use development ordinance.

The ordinance would require that off-street parking be supplied for both residential and non-residential uses, but also notes that the borough would not be against a shared parking approach.

If the builder wishes to create a shared parking lot for residential and non-residential use, an application must be submitted that contains a share parking analysis report. For an application to be successful, the analysis must confirm that the peak parking demand can be fully met onsite or through an offsite parking agreement with the borough or a private third party, according to the ordinance.

Building Requirements

Each new building on the property must conform to specific standards, including being no more than five stories or sixty-five feet tall and a minimum of fifty feet for the front yard setback. Any building that is three stories or higher must have an elevator. There is also a maximum residential density of twenty dwellings per acre.

Aesthetics

The appearance of the mixed use development would also be closely governed by the ordinance. The buildings would be required to to maintain a similar architectural theme with one another as well as with the "village character" of the borough, according to the ordinance.

The facades of the building would not be allowed to be blank or featureless, and roofs on taller buildings would need to be designed in such a way that makes the building appear shorter.

Although the ordinance is specific about a vast array of details, Buccellato explained that a builder would be able to apply for a variance and state his or her case to the Unified Planning/Zoning Board. 

A public hearing will be held for the ordinance at the council's Oct. 2 meeting. At that time, the council will also vote on whether or not to adopt the ordinance.

Editor's note: A copy of the ordinance is attached to this article below the photo. Copies of the ordinance can also be obtained at the Matawan Municipal Community Center on Broad Street.

Janet Hasek September 25, 2012 at 07:51 PM
What's deal with Borrows Mansion? It's a shame and a disgrace. Where do our super high taxes go? Can't we afford a few gallons of paint. This town is becoming very run down. It's an embarrassment. Our Main street is so rundown.
JosephGhabourLaw September 25, 2012 at 08:15 PM
Clean water is a major issue. What Joe Carelli speaks of is the need to have drainage basins, that have aquatic plants, to help handle run-off. That said, public participation is needed when building a plan. http://www.charretteinstitute.org/projects/community-planning.html This is a tool that can be used to allow the community to decide what they want as a town plan. There is much debate on the patch, and the bottom line, is that the community needs to come together and create a long-term vision. Then future energies can be used to build the community, not create division.
Chelsea Naso September 25, 2012 at 11:19 PM
From chatting with the historical society, it seems repainting the mansion is more expensive than one would imagine because the NJ Department of Environmental Protection requires a specific remediation process to remove the current paint, which contains lead, before applying new paint.
Aberdeen Guy September 25, 2012 at 11:40 PM
Agree with all the comments about main street. Its ugly and run down and it discourages people from shopping there and stores from opening up there. One bright spot appears to be the new bakery thats opening up soon. Place looks like its going to be really nice. The town needs to get some type of plan together to improve the street, encourage quality stores to open up there and fix the infrastructure. From the street signs to the parking lots to allowing the stores to put up ugly crappy signage, its a joke. Have they ever considered putting a plan together for how to create a nice main street. There are plenty of towns in the state that they could talk to and get some help. Sometimes i think they dont want main street to thrive for some reason.
Andy C February 02, 2013 at 07:33 AM
I also agree with the comments about main street. That needs to be our major priority. I've lived in this town for 6 years now and it looks worse than ever. It's unacceptable to have one of the highest tax rates in the county and say we can't pay an engineering or architecture firm for a few weeks time to prepare a decent conceptual plan. Regarding the stormwater on the redevelopment site which 2 people commented on - you don't need to setup any new standards. Any large development (more than 1/4 acre of new pavement) has to follow the state and the local ordinance's stormwater management regulations including detention basins for peak flow attenuation, water quality structures to remove dirt, oils, and other contaminants, and groundwater recharge. Essentially, the new development must be BETTER than the existing conditions. The plan will be approved by the board engineer, so no one needs to be too concerned about this topic.

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