DEP Denies Heritage’s Development Plan

(Photo by Micromedia Publications)

MANCHESTER – The Department of Environmental Protection denied the plan to build a large development on the former Heritage Minerals site.

A 23-page report states that the applicant failed to meet the requirements of the Coastal Zone Management Rules, and thereby denied their CAFRA permit. This stands for Coastal Area Facilities Review Act, and it governs any building near bodies of water.

The developer, Hovsons, would be eligible for a hearing to state their case.

According to the letter, Hovsons was applying for 3,862 single family homes, apartments, and townhouses, 40,000 square feet of commercial space, a clubhouse, and recreation facilities. The development would be on about 1,008 acres, leaving 2,916 acres of the property largely undisturbed.

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The DEP made a number of points opposing the development, including that the development plan did not address contamination already on site from mining operation; threatened and endangered wildlife may be affected; aquifer recharging might be impacted; it exceeds the allowed population density in the Pinelands; and that it would result in “significant and adverse” traffic.

Mayor Ken Palmer declined to comment on the denial until he had read it himself.

The DEP, Hovsons, the Pinelands Commission, and Manchester Township had originally agreed to a settlement in 2004. This would have been for 2,200 homes, with a development of 995.4 acres, with 6,179.7 acres in the property to be preserved.