Sunday, June 18, 2006

TownHouse Plans Hit Wall in Wall

From The New York Times:

AS public opinion has generally turned against sprawl in New Jersey, big-lot residential zoning has mostly fallen out of favor in towns around the state.

Admittedly, there are still exclusive enclaves where one- or two-acre lots are the rule, and semirural areas where a four-acre lot, or even a six-acre lot, is the required minimum for a single house. But the New Urbanism style of building multiple units in clusters on smaller parcels in more densely populated areas is the trend most planners and developers are focusing on these days.

Here in the small town of Wall, there is a project that aims to install a New Urbanist design right in the midst of a six-acre-lot neighborhood.

Cedar Hollow Estates is a development of 11 attached town homes occupying a sliver of land in the midst of horse farm country — with five nearby golf courses and a large park, and prime Jersey beachfronts all reasonably close neighbors as well.

Since most of the land available for development in Wall consists of eight small lots on the periphery, or land that lies within the central part of the community that is zoned for six acres per residential unit, Cedar Hollow's town houses may be a vanishing breed hereabouts.

"We think this is going to be the last one, except for the age-restricted projects that are under way here," said Paul R. DeBellis Jr. of Franklin Development Group, the West Paterson company building Cedar Hollow.

Mr. DeBellis, who is a principal of Franklin Development along with his father, Paul R. DeBellis Sr., said his company had vied to build more such projects on other sites, but found itself stymied by the six-acre-per-unit rule governing the available land in the central part of Wall Township. "We want to preserve the character of that part of town," said the township's planner, John Hoffmann.

Cedar Hollow, just off Route 138 and adjacent to wooded property leased by the town for a police station, is a high-end condominium development. The 11 town homes, with an average price of $950,000, will each have 3,600 square feet of space, with three bedrooms, two and a half baths, two fireplaces, a private in-home elevator, a heated two-car garage and a 435-square-foot deck.

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