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Saddle Ridge Plan Draws More Opposition

Residents called for the preservation of trees and a scenic road as they spoke out Monday against a housing plan as the Easton Planning and Zoning Commission continued its public hearings on the project.

Matthew Ranelli, attorney for Saddle Ridge, was there to answer questions on the development, which would create 33 buildings of 105 homes near Routes 136 and 59, with 32 units designated as affordable.

Residents voiced concerns that the proposed extension of the water main under the scenic roadway would damage trees and their root systems, which might eventually cause them to fall.

Ranelli said he does not believe a permit is needed to extend the water main. But Planning and Zoning Chair Robert Maquat said the developers must follow an application process for exemption.

The commission also expressed concerns that the location of the pump station in the plans is only approximate. Ranelli said the exact location couldn't be determined unless Aquarion Water Co. agrees to explore the issue further.

Commission members and residents shared their disbelief that the 105 homes would yield only 15 additional students in the Easton schools and only 46 peak-hour trips out of the complex, especially because the homes would have "open" space that could be used as bedrooms for more people. Ranelli, who said the estimations were based on Rutgers studies as well as their own surveys, said he did not believe the large spaces in the home would mean more people would be living there. He estimated that fewer than 200 people would live in the 105 homes.

The questions and hearing will continue at the board's next meeting, Nov. 8.

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