Maple Ave. Cul-de-sac Project Moving Forward
Committee still seeking input from two affected property owners.
The Montville Township Committee has chosen a design for construction of a permanent cul-de-sac on Maple Avenue and is planning to move forward with the project as soon as possible.
But the township is still working on, as it has been for the past several months, getting input from two property owners whose accessways will be affected by the new construction.
The committee was presented with two design plans Tuesday evening: one that included three-point turn legs and another that did not. With the plan that was chosen by the majority of commmittee members, a cul-de-sac without three-point turn legs will be constructed. The alternate accessways for both 10 Maple Avenue and 34 Maple Avenue would be relocated, requiring the approval of the property owners.
The projected cost of the cul-de-sac project is $76,067. Committee Member Scott Gallopo said the cost of the plan was much better than plans the committee had previously considered. The original two cul-de-sac design plans cost between $80,000 and $150,000.
"The price is significantly different than what we’ve seen in the last two or three iterations," Gallopo said.
The committee has been discussing and considering constructing a permanent dead end on the road for months after a group of residents complained they feared for their children's safety in the neighborhood of Maple Avenue, John Street and Margaret Street in Pine Brook. In July, temporary barriers were put in place, which some residents said was an improvement while others said negatively impacted them and the neighborhood.
Township committee members promised the orange barriers that blocked off the cut-through between Route 80 and Route 46 would be temporary and that a more permanent solution would soon be forthcoming. But the committee members and residents could not initially agree on a cul-de-sac option that was agreeable for all parties. The township also continued to attempt to receive consent to move forward with the project from the two property owners, which still has not yet been obtained.
If needed, Borough Attorney Martin Murphy said the township could move forward with the project without the consent of the owners of 10 New Maple and 34 New Maple, though Committee Member Jim Sandham was concerned this would result in condemnation.
"We're taking something away from a property owner, they're going to want something in return," he said.
Sandham proposed that the township negotiate the accessway details with the property owners.
"My opinion is that would be cheaper than condemnation," he said.
Maple Avenue resident Marie Eggers, who initially opposed the cul-de-sac project, said she was pleased with the committee's decision.
"I thank you for picking Plan 'B,'" she said. "That’s the one that we were in favor of."
Maple Avenue resident Sylvia Walits also reminded the committee that the project should be about keeping kids safe.
"I'm not looking for a miracle, just protect these kids," she said.
Gallopo noted that while the township committee has been working on coming up with a solution for the Maple Avenue residents, the neighbors have also helped the committee.
"The neighbors actually came together in this, which is a great sight to see," he said.