Then & Now - Will Montgomery Retain Its Rural Character
By Barbara A. Preston | Posted October 19, 2023
On the bright side, Montgomery officials have banned warehouses. They are not permitted to be built anywhere in the township. Also, Montgomery is in compliance with its court-ordered affordable housing mandates for rounds one, two, and three. In addition, the township has preserved 39 percent of its land mass as open space in perpetuity.
A charming old house on Hollow Road.
“The township has an aggressive open space and farmland preservation program, dating back decades,” says Montgomery Township Administrator and Director of Planning Lori Savron. “It’s always nice to be reminded of some of the wonderful things that are going on in Montgomery Township — things that really everyone values,” she said at the beginning of her presentation on the status of development to Township Committee on October 5.
Savron reflected on some of the natural areas, beautiful vistas, parks, and historical buildings that Montgomery Township has preserved. The majority of Montgomery Township, 92 percent, is zoned residential. Montgomery uses various strategies in order to keep out massive developments, the likes of which are going up in nearby Hillsborough and West Windsor.
The “No Warehouse Ban” is one strategy. West Windsor, for example, has approved the construction of a 5.5 million-square-foot, multibuilding industrial park. The project, the size of nearly 100 football fields, has drawn protests from some residents, and litigation is pending to block its construction, according to costar. com. Montgomery Township has joined about 500 municipalities nationwide that have passed warehouse bans.
Sewer Service Areas
The majority Montgomery Township does not have public sewer or water. Because of this, it would be costly and prohibitive for developers to construct massive developments in the township. “We are predominantly on septic,” Savron says. “That has been one of the growth-management tools the township has used.”
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Montgomery Township also manages growth by restricting where certain types of development would be permitted in the township, according to Savron. “We have limited access to [through] roads” she said. “We have Route 206, County Routes 518 and 601, then predominantly residential roads.” So the larger developments in Montgomery Township are purposefully located in what officials refer to as “The Belle Mead Node” and “The Rocky Hill Node.”
The Belle Mead Node
The Belle Mead Node is centered at the intersection of Route 206 and Griggstown Road in Belle Mead. Recent developments include Country Club Meadows (148 single family homes), Meadows at Montgomery (96 age-restricted units), and two strip malls— Montgomery Place (Kasia Market now under construction), and Montgomery Grove.
Country Club Meadows in Montgomery’s Belle Mead Node.
The Rocky Hill Node
Rocky Hill Node centered at Route 206 and Route 518 in Montgomery Township. Developments under construction in this area include The Somerset at Montgomery, 1377 Route 206. This apartment complex next to the Shop Rite Shopping Center includes 115 units, of which 23 will be affordable. Montgomery Crossing on Village Drive with access from Route 518 and Route 206 is under construction now, with 107 rowhomes and 40 condos by Sharbell Development. It, too, helps Montgomery to meet its affordable housing mandate. It has been under construction since 2022. Anticipated completion is 2024. A 40-unit condominium building, which is part of the Montgomery Crossing project, has been amended. The developer is modified the plans to reduce the total number of units from 40 to 20, and those would become rowhomes.