Development: Do You Prefer Retail or Residential?

What would you say if a proposed apartment and hotel complex were all retail space?

Development? It’s a hot topic in Hillsborough.

With the Planning Board hearing on the , and several storefronts now becoming vacant, Hillsborough Patch has to ask—would residents be more likely to accept the development if it were shops rather than housing?

For those who haven’t followed the Planning Board, the Green Village development—which is still undergoing a site plan hearing—is a 469-unit apartment complex, 130-room extended stay hotel, and a 20,000 square foot retail space, proposed for a section of Route 206 that’s across from United Rent-All. 117 of the apartment units would fulfill affordable housing requirements—which means the town has to build those affordable units somewhere in order to fulfill a state requirement.

The plan has been met with questions from residents who are concerned about traffic and flooding that could occur from both building on the site and from removing 75 percent of the trees there now.

Of course, the Planning Board can't outright deny an application. The board is required to hear the applicant's case, according to New Jersey Land Use Law and can only deny plans because of certain criteria—such as a plan that doesn't conform to zoning criteria. 

What do you think? Are you unhappy that the development—though the affordable housing units would need to be built regardless—are residences? Would your opinion change if it were all retail?

Please leave your thoughts in the comments.

Here’s what you need to know today:

  1. You Need to Know About Job Skills: The New Jersey Technology Council and New Jersey Department of Labor and Workforce Development offers from 8:15 a.m. to 1:15 p.m. Wednesday at DeVry University, 630 US 1, North Brunswick. Admission is free, but you’ll need to register here http://njtc.org/events/indevt.asp?dbid=%7B65A11D51-6DF3-E011-8994-0013725A113C%7D.
  2. You Need to Know About Volunteering: The needs five volunteers to lead its Lego Buddies program from 3:30 p.m. to 5 p.m. Wednesday. Teens can apply to volunteer by calling the Children’s Desk at 908-369-2200, extension 14.
  3. You Need to Know About Legos: The runs its Lego Club for children in grades one to five from 4 to 4:45 p.m. Wednesday. Lego lovers will need mom and dad to register for the session by calling 908-369-2200, extension 14. The library provides the Legos, so please remember to leave personal creations at home.
  4. You Need to Know About Your Elders: The hosts a program on the basics of aging and home care at 7 p.m. Wednesday, where those attending can ask a registered nurse questions and learn about community services available. You’ll need to RSVP by calling 908-369-2200.
  5. You Need to Know It’s for Moms: The  Since the location shifts each time, you’ll need to email their membership chair-mom at mchw.info@gmail.com if you’re interested in joining the club. East of Route 206? You'll want to investigate the .
Curt Carnes March 08, 2012 at 12:25 AM
Steve, I too worked very hard to find the house I live in now. I’m in a little secluded neighborhood off Mountain View road. Two of my direct neighbors have lived here since the development was built back in the sixties! Just for reference, there is a field to the south of our development. When I moved here it was zoned and used for agriculture, and is still used for agriculture. However, 10 or so years ago the township changed it’s zoning to HS, AKA Highway Zoning. If you look at a zoning map you see folks in my neighborhood a good half a mile away from Rt206, could suddenly find themselves looking out at this http://www.hillsborough-nj.org/documents/ordinances/2008_-_20_hs_highway_service_district.pdf instead of the cornfields they have been looking at for the passed 50 years You might find this interesting too: http://www.nj.com/messenger-gazette/index.ssf/2010/05/hillsborough_creates_new_zone_for_affordable_housing.html Did I mention… Zoning means nothing when the politicians can just throw a couple whereas, wherefores, and pay a lawyer or two and then just willy-nilly change the zoning to fit their, yes their needs, not “We the Peoples” needs? What area of the township do you live in?
Steve March 08, 2012 at 01:10 AM
I am in the Sourland Mountains, so I live on the Mountain in that is the view for Mountain View road. My home was built in the 60s. I heard that the last development that happened here in the 90s was controversial as well. The land at the very top was supposed to be preserve land, but then with some political dealings they were allowed to build. Some very nice homes but it goes to show even preserve land can be repurposed.
BDVideo March 11, 2012 at 10:09 AM
I often wonder (though I could probably dig around and look it up) what exactly is "affordable" housing? I know someone in the "nicest" (i.e. the one they show to potential residents) of the Claremont "Luxury" Apartments. They are about the cheapest they can find, (around $1,500/mo. for 2 bedrooms, last I heard) and they deal with rain leaking in, drafty windows, and recurring mold problems. There's one dad, one mom, one kid, one on the way. One paycheck, just barely getting by. They're just above the poverty line. They checked out Pike Run and were told there was a waiting list. So I wonder if there would ever be anything they could afford here, or anywhere within a practical distance to the guy's job in the Princeton area.
BDVideo March 11, 2012 at 10:16 AM
I agree with Laura that we can hold off on development, or wait long enough so the projected finish date coincides with a reasonable expectation of a better economy (if that's possible) and the completion of the 206 bypass, as someone else mentioned. I believe that development is not a magical cure for a town's woes. "If you build it they will come" is a great line from "Field of Dreams," but remember, it's just a movie. The phrase gets quoted as some kind of economic dogma.
Geraldine Mancuso March 19, 2012 at 06:20 PM
Hillsborough needs more retail businesses. There are so many empty store fronts. The township will start to look very run down if something isnt done soon. More big box chain stores and restaurants would do very well. There is a huge residential boom. The supply and demand are not being met. How about an On the Border, Carrabas, Joanns crafts, a Fairway or Trader Joes????


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