Newspaper article The Record (Bergen County, NJ)

Housing Proposal Draws Questions

Newspaper article The Record (Bergen County, NJ)

Housing Proposal Draws Questions

Article excerpt

FRANKLIN LAKES -- Residents have traffic and safety concerns about a proposed development that would house 39 adults with developmental and physical disabilities.

A development group, Franklin Lakes Supportive Housing Urban Renewal, has proposed building 40 one-bedroom apartments in five two- floor residential buildings on a roughly 14-acre property on 680 Colonial Road and 720 McCoy Road.

The five buildings would be around a 2,080-square-foot community building and a patio. Entry and exit would be via Colonial Road on two 18-foot-wide roadways separated by an island.

An on-site caregiver would occupy one of the 740-square foot apartments. There would not be 24/7 medical care on site, according to the plan from the developer, which is a partnership between the Housing Development Corp. of Bergen County and the Alpert Group of Fort Lee.

"This is supportive housing, not a group home," said Michael Tozzoli, CEO of West Bergen Mental Healthcare, which would provide day-to-day support services. Tenants will be "able to live relatively independently," he said.

He said there would be at most three employees at the site each day, and that the proposed 40 parking spaces are sufficient because most tenants would not have cars.

While the developer's representatives say the housing can be built without any variances, residents who spoke at a Planning Board meeting Wednesday night said traffic and safety concerns must be addressed to ensure that the development won't exacerbate what they call an already difficult traffic situation on Colonial Road.

Laurie Burnette asked about other possible locations for the exit and entrance, such as McCoy Road. "As a resident that comes out of McCoy every day and makes a left-hand turn, if you go there between 8:30 and 9 a.m. it's very dangerous," she said.

The development group is scheduled to present the results of a traffic study at a public hearing on April 15. …

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