MiPro Homes LLC plans to subdivide two lots and build 16 homes in wooded area.
By JACK TOMCZUK
The Cherry Hill Township Planning Board gave preliminary approval Monday, Aug. 20, to a developer planning to build 16 homes in a 14-acre wooded area along Kresson Road.
Several residents raised concerns about the proposal after representatives from MiPro Homes LLC, the developer, presented its application to the planning board.
The proposal calls for two existing lots zoned for residential use at 902 and 920 Kresson Road to be subdivided into 19 lots for the development of 16 single-family homes. Two lots would be used for stormwater drainage basins and another would be reserved for open space, according to the presentation.
MiPro Homes’ plan also includes the creation of a new cul-de-sac road to connect the proposed development to Kresson Road.
Michael Procacci, the firm’s vice president, said the homes would be between 300,000 and 400,000 square-feet in size. Base prices would likely range from $500,000 to $650,000 but could rise depending on the options and modifications preferred by the buyer, he added.
Residents who live near the site and others opposed to the development raised a number of issues, including traffic, increased housing density and loss of trees.
“I do not feel that it promotes good community character,” resident Martha Wright said during the meeting. “I just don’t feel this is appropriate.”
Jeffrey Baron, an attorney representing MiPro Homes, said the original plan called for 27 homes to be developed on the site. He said the firm reduced the number of lots after hearing pushback from residents.
“We offered to meet with the neighbors on a number of occasions,” Baron said. “The administration suggested that it might be better to allow them to meet with the neighbors and get input, transmit it to us, and then, if we have problems with it, we would meet with the neighbors.”
“We have been communicating, I would say, through the township what we’ve been doing every step of the way,” he added.
Stephen Weinberg, a longtime resident who identified himself as the president of the “Magic Forest” area civic association, asked the planning board to make sure all trees on the property are accounted for before and after potential construction.
“We are very concerned that this 14-acre site is obviously going to be changed permanently,” he said. “They’ll be taking down a lot of trees.”
Weinberg estimated there are hundreds of trees on the two lots and described the area as a “mature forest.”
Engineer Joseph Mancini, who is working on the proposed development, said the plan calls for saving a number of the older trees and includes the planting of new ones.
Another concern discussed at the hearing was traffic, particularly around the nearby intersection of Kresson and Marlkress roads.
Andrew Feranda, a traffic consultant who was featured in MiPro Homes’ presentation, said he studied the intersection and determined the new development would have a negligible impact on traffic conditions.
Weinberg questioned that assessment and said people turning in and out of the cul-de-sac would create headaches on Kresson, which is a county road.
“It’s going to be gridlock,” Weinberg said. “You’re going to have that every morning.”
He suggested putting a traffic light at the intersection of Kresson Road and the cul-de-sac that will be constructed as part of the development project.
Baron said MiPro Homes has been discussing the traffic issue with the county, and he doesn’t think there will be any problems.
“There’s very little traffic to be added,” he said. “The situation on the road is not that bad and we’re not making it much worse.”
MiPro Homes is also requesting four types of variances in connection with the plan. Three are related to the drainage basins and open space lot, and the other is to allow side-entry garages for the 16 homes.
The firm received preliminary approval for the project and will have to come back to the planning board with additional details to get final approval.