September 8, 2020
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first_imgBy Joseph SapiaMIDDLETOWN – The Route 35 Village proposal resumes before the township Planning Board on Wednesday, but only the commercial aspect is expected to be on the agenda.The board will resume hearing the application for the Shoppes at Middletown – 338,455 square feet of retail, restaurant and movie theater space with 1,786 parking spaces. The Shoppes are to be built on 52 acres along Route 35 of the overall 118-acre tract.The land is bounded by Route 35 North, Kings Highway East, Carriage Drive and Kanes Lane. While it has some businesses and homes on it, it is mostly woods and open space – and is probably best known as home of the Calico the Clown/Spirits Unlimited liquor store sign.The applicant for the Shoppes at Middletown is John Orrico/Village 35 of Purchase, New York.On the rear 66 acres, or at the Carriage Drive end of the property, Toll Brothers of Horsham, Pennsylvania, proposes the Oaks at Middletown, a 350-townhouse complex. The 350 townhouses break down to 280 units at open-market price and 70 units of “affordable housing.”In June, the Planning Board consolidated the commercial and residential applications for the 118 acres. Planning Board Chairman John Deus said the consolidation was to bring clarity on hearing the proposals to the board and public – allowing engineering, traffic and other related components of the commercial and residential applications to be heard at the same time.But the township Planning and Community Development Department is not expected to deem the residential application complete in time for the Sept. 7 meeting.Toll Brothers filed the Oaks at Middletown application May 27, said the development’s lawyer, John A. Giunco. But the Planning and Community Development Department requested more information on “various engineering and supporting reports,” Giunco said. “They wanted more detail.” Toll Brothers resubmitted the application Thursday, Aug. 25, Giunco said. He said the Planning and Community Development Department has 45 days to review it – which would expire the week of Oct. 9.“We’re ready to move before the board, but it’s unlikely the board will be able (to hear the Oaks at Middletown application beginning Sept. 7),” Giunco said.The Planning Board meeting is scheduled for 6:30 p.m. Sept. 7 at the municipal complex at the corner of Route 35 South and Kings Highway.This will be the third appearance for the Shoppes at Middletown. So far, only the engineering aspects of the Shoppes at Middletown have been heard by the board.Orrico says he will not discuss the project outside of the hearings as long as they go on. The site, which has seen various unsuccessful development proposals over the last two decades, has drawn the scrutiny of the public. For example, there is a “Stop Village 35” Facebook page.Cindy Squassoni, who lives in the Heritage Hills development of single-family homes at the Carriage Drive end of the property and is one of the opponent leaders, said there is a “right to build” on the property. But she raised various concerns – the size of the project, its lack of open space being preserved, traffic, drainage, aesthetics and impact on schools.“Traffic is horrifying in my mind,” said Squassoni. “Pretty much our neighborhood is going to be a shortcut between (Routes) 35 and 36.”As for the schools, “they’re filled to capacity, as is,” she said.The 118 acres has not yet been subdivided, Giunco said. The property is owned by Mountain Hill LLC, which is the local Azzolina-Scaduto family.last_img