Porous Roadways Discussed For 59-Home Plan

There is still a lot of interest from the public for the proposed development. (Photo by Judy Smestad-Nunn)

  BRICK – A fifth Planning Board meeting held for a proposed 59-home development on land owned by Visitation Roman Catholic Church picked up right where it left off from a previous meeting held last month.

  During the July 18 meeting, residents and other concerned citizens who have been attending the meetings – some wearing “Save Breton Woods” tee shirts and pins – got the opportunity to cross-examine Leanne R. Hoffman, the project engineer who testified at the last hearing. She was hired by the developer, national homebuilder D.R. Horton.

  Unlike public comment, which allows each person from the public five minutes to speak at the mic, there was no time limit placed on the public’s cross-examination of the engineer during this Planning Board meeting, which lasted over three hours.

  Many of the questions concerned the porous roadways planned for the development, which Hoffman said has never been used for this purpose in New Jersey.

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  She proposed the porous roadways after getting comments from township Planning Board consultants, who were critical of the original stormwater management plan that called for 72 individual bio-basins on the site located between building lots.

  In order to be in full compliance with the township’s stormwater management requirements, Hoffman came back with a revised plan that called for four large-scale infiltration basins coupled with the permeable roadway material.

  Resident William Chandler asked about Hoffman’s lack of experience using the porous pavement.

  Hoffman said that many engineers are using the porous pavement for the first time since the NJ Department of Environmental Protection [NJDEP] recently updated their green infrastructure requirements.

  The developer’s attorney John Giunco said that for three years, the NJDEP has been developing the rules, which partly resulted in the recommendation for the use of porous pavement for stormwater management.

  “Everyone’s working through the new [DEP] rules as their policies get implemented,” said Planning Board attorney Harold Hensel. “It’s not unique here…the applicant’s engineer’s experience in porous pavement is limited, as is the experience of every engineer in New Jersey.”

  Resident Richard Strepparava asked what the life expectancy is of porous pavement as opposed to traditional roads.

  Hoffman said that if the roadways are maintained – which includes vacuuming and power washing them four times a year – their life expectancy is 15 to 25 years.

  The porous roadway needs preventive maintenance since sediment can clog the surface, she said. Furthermore, the use of sand and salt mixes used during snow and ice can cause clogging. Care must also be used during plowing.

  The developer will maintain the roads for the first two years, Hoffman added. After that, the township’s Department of Public Works would be responsible for their upkeep along with all the other township roads.

  Resident Nancy Williams asked if the site would create runoff onto the surrounding, existing homes. “Will the site be elevated?” she asked.

  Hoffman said the contrary is true. “The site is almost like a bowl, and it will take the runoff from other properties, including Laurel Avenue,” she said. “We are not building higher.”

  After the residents completed their cross-examination of Hoffman, township engineer Elissa Commins noted that Hoffman said the roadway plan was in compliance with Brick’s Residential Site Improvement Standards (RSIS).

  “What pavement section does this comply with?” Commins asked. “It does not comply with RSIS for roadway design.”

  “That’s your statement,” Hoffman replied.

  The next Planning Board meeting for the application will be held on Monday, August 22 at 7 p.m. at the Civic Center.