Belle Mead Residents Worry Zone Change Means Big Stores
But officials note changes near Montgomery border are aimed at making zoning consistent.
The Hillsborough Township Committee was prepared to approve an ordinance changing the zoning on several lots west of Route 206, near the Montomery Township border, but had to postpone approval because of changes made to the ordinance.
However, two Montgomery Township residents appeared before the committee Tuesday night with questions about the move to change the zoning from AG to Highway Service, based on the recommended zoning in the township's master plan.
The change was recommended because none of the lots are used for agricultural purposes, and the highway service zone could allow some development as part of the township's gateway districts—but officials noted many of the lots are not developable and agreed no one would want to build on others.
"I'm concerned because I don't quite understand why you think it makes sense," Jessie Havens, of Ludlow Avenue in Belle Mead said. She noted the change will rezone the nearly 300-year old Harlingen Reformed Church cemetery on Route 206. "I don't see why you would want to include in in this zone."
She said one could consider the cemetery as being more agricultural than "highway service" since "you plant people there," but said the lack of "continuity" didn't make sense.
"The reason it was put in that zone was that we didn't want to create a spot zone," Township Planner Robert Ringelheim said. "The uses may or may not develop."
Another resident, Barbara Schweitzer, of Belmont Avenue in Belle Mead, asked if the zoning change was in connection with plans for building a big box store.
"There is no development proposal for that property—and that would not be a permitted use for the property," Ringelheim said.
The ordinance had been introduced on Feb. 17, but was changed to remove several lots connected to Montgomery properties that will remain in the AG zone. However, Township Clerk Pamela Borek said the title of the ordinance, which specifies the lots affected by the change, was not modified after those lots were removed, and recommended the committee re-introduce the ordinance, with a corrected title, and hold another public hearing for it April 23.