New Shops /Neighborhood in Belle Mead Balanced by Open Space

Posted on December 1, 2016

What is the construction visible along Rt. 206 near Pike Run?

“Country Club Meadows” is a mixed use development which has broken ground along Route 206 at the northern end of the Township. Please read this summary for an overview of how this new development came about as the preferred alternative and is part of a balanced approach allowing appropriate growth while preserving valuable open space.

overall_belle_mead_map_11_7_2016

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Retail stores are being built east of Rt. 206 and a residential neighborhood on the west side of Rt. 206 (see map).  The developer began construction by clearing the trees in September and is currently in the early construction phase. The retail portion includes 1. Pike Run Plaza – stores anchored by a CVS pharmacy on the northeast corner of Belle Mead-Griggstown Rd., and 2. Belle Mead Plaza – an attractive mixed use shopping center of smaller storefronts with 28 apartments above, located on the southeast corner. The residential area will include a neighborhood of single family homes – 108 homes on one half-acre lots and 40 patio homes on average 6,000 square foot lots.

 

How is this new growth balanced by open space preservation?

Unlike towns where development sprawl runs rampant, Montgomery Township officials have planned for growth with care. Montgomery’s master plan focuses growth in two places – along the northernmost and southernmost ends of the Rt. 206 corridor in town – next to existing development. The area now being cleared and graded is within ‘The Belle Mead Node’ – where a mix of office, retail and services is allowed.  The other growth node is the southern end of town along Rt. 206 by Princeton Airport, where future development will require the developer to build off-site improvements to ease traffic flows around the corner of Rt. 518 & Rt. 206.

The master plan also calls for keeping development density low in the western portion of Montgomery, near the environmentally significant Sourland Mountain ridge – one of the last large contiguous areas of undeveloped land in Central New Jersey (see green areas of map ).

There are 1,267 acres of open space nearby, as shown on the accompanying map of Belle Mead, north of Dutchtown Harlingen Road ( please refer to Ebulletin of June 15  and Ebulletin of Nov. 1 ).  This includes 72 acres newly earmarked for preservation in the last year – the Dixon and Thompson properties. In recent years another 600 acres of land has been preserved by the Township Committee, adding strategically to our open space inventory. Approximately one-third of Montgomery Township remains in open space, including farmland, pathways, parkland, protected stream corridors, and golf courses.

 

Why is ‘Country Club Meadows’ being built?

These 179 acres were the subject of 2010 litigation by the property owner, CCM, which was settled in 2014 after protracted negotiations. This activity is moving forward now that we have reduced intensity of development originally proposed by the developer.  Early proposals included high density residential development, in the range of 800 units, described in 2014 ebulletin (see Pg. 3 of Twp. Newsletter of Sept. 1, 2014 ). Township officials felt this was an excessive amount at that location for a number of reasons and it would have negatively impacted existing residents.

These lands have been owned by development interests since the 1930s. CCM, successor to Belle Mead Development Corp., is also the developer of Pike Run, Pike Run II and Pike Run Meadows, located adjacent to the proposed development. The company acquired the primary 154 acre land tract located on the west side of Route 206 in June 2003.

This development will provide needed services and amenities to local residents and provide new housing in the Township of various kinds, the majority of which is half-acre lot single family housing. The developer conceded to build other on-site and off-site public amenities under the agreement with Montgomery (see below).

The project will also result in a significant increase in the tax ratables of Montgomery Township.

 

What public amenities will this include?

The developer will build two new public playgrounds, and complete the last link of the Township pathway system from Belle Mead Griggstown Rd. to Montgomery Veterans Park (offsite), as well as complete construction of Covert Drive.  The Township’s agreement requires enhanced buffers in order to protect neighboring residents.

 

What is the expected timeframe of completion?

While schedules are dependent on many factors, some of the single-family homes being constructed may be completed by summer 2017.

Belle Mead Plaza on the southeast corner – smaller shops offering convenient access to local goods and services – will likely be completed first by fall 2017, with Pike Run Plaza to follow.

A section of land to the northwest between the railroad tracks and Rt. 206 is reserved for a continuing care facility. Northeast of Rt. 206, also along the railroad, is reserved for a commercial transit area. No timeframe known for either of these projects.

We hope our residents and business owners find the above overview useful and informative. General questions may be referred to the Montgomery Twp. Planning Department at (908) 359-8211.  For information on the specific commercial development plans, call Colliers International at (299) 973 3071.

Source: Montgomery Twp. Planning Dept.