The 27-hole facility in River Vale, N.J., may build 249 housing units – including million-dollar townhouses, quadplexes and a separate 24-unit low-income housing facility – on 44 acres of the property.
Fairways might become new housing under a proposal to develop nine holes of the 27-hole Edgewood Country Club in River Vale, N.J., the Pascack Press reported.
According to the Press report, on December 20 the River Vale Joint Planning Board will take up a major site plan and subdivision application that seeks to build 249 housing units on approximately 44 acres of the nearly 190-acre country club.
Applicants Edgewood Golf Course Realty Associates and 455 River Vale seek approvals to construct million-dollar townhouses, quadplexes and a separate 24-unit low-income housing facility, that combined will be named The Fairways at Edgewood, the Press reported.
In a letter to residents, River Vale Mayor Glenn Jasionowski said an 18-hole golf course and the country club’s recently renovated facility will remain, the Press reported.
The plans—with most application documents signed by Eric Witmondt, CEO of Woodmont Properties—are available for the public to review at River Vale Town Hall during business hours. Property owners within 200 feet of the proposed development are being notified by certified mail, including about 200 in River Vale, 48 in Hillsdale and four in Old Tappan, the Press reported.
Woodmont Properties, on its website, boasts of an over $650 million portfolio of properties in New Jersey, New York and Pennsylvania, including three country clubs, eight industrial sites, 23 office and retail sites, 18 luxury apartment complexes, and eight luxury home developments—including nearby New Jersey sites Enclave at Montvale and Saddle River Grand, the Press reported.
According to the Press report, the company describes Edgewood Country Club, stating “the long-term investment strategy is to develop nine of the 27 holes into a gated community of luxury townhouses, with the club as its primary amenity.”
Jasionowski said Edgewood Country Club, once near bankruptcy, worked with the town to save the golf course and develop only nine holes. He said that traffic and safety improvements will be recommended by police for nearby roads, and that the upscale housing units won’t lead to many new school children, the Press reported.
The mayor wrote two open letters on the subject, saying the 24-unit affordable housing development is part of the township’s affordable housing settlement, and estimating that property taxes would decrease about $1,145 for the average township homeowner following the development, the Press reported.
Jasionowski said the 18-hole golf course will remain “preserved as recreational open space free from development.” Jasionowski did not respond to requests to comment on this article, and it was not clear under what mechanism the remaining 18 holes would be preserved, the Press reported.
The mayor wrote that school enrollment has been in “steady decline” since 2010, down from 1,376 in 2010 to a projected 1,083 next year, and that adding school children may help “preserve the excellent programs we have experienced.”
In a separate demographic analysis by Cofone Consulting Group, included with the applicant’s environmental impact statement, the group projects 31 additional school children from the new development, including 11 from affordable housing and 20 from 225 townhomes and quadplexes, the Press reported.
In addition, the mayor pointed out that the proposed density at The Fairways at Edgewood is five units per acre, while density at nearby Holiday Farm is 11.7 units per acre, the Press reported.
According to DuBois Environmental Consultants, the applicant plans construct: 193 townhomes (all three-bedroom), 32 quadplex units (16 two-bedroom and 16 three-bedroom); and 24 affordable units (four one-bedroom, 15 two-bedroom, and five three-bedroom), the Press reported.
Estimated costs for quadplexes were more than $700,000, and townhomes were more than $800,000. Prices for affordable units were not listed, the Press reported.
On December 4, the Press reviewed a box of application documents available for public inspection at town hall, including: maps, architectural and planning renderings, the site plan application and environmental analysis.
The applicant seeks three variances. One is to permit a proposed new maintenance building to be 33.5 feet where maximum permitted height is 25 feet; the second is to permit front yard fences to be 5 feet in height where only a 3-foot maximum is allowed; and third is to permit three freestanding signs about 221 square feet in size and up to 14 feet high where only one freestanding sign a maximum of 32 square feet and up to 8 feet high is permitted, the Press reported.
The applicant plans to present expert testimony from statewide professionals, including a traffic engineer from Langan Engineering and Environmental Services; a planner from Cofone Consulting Group; an architect from Sonnenfeld and Trocchia; and a landscape consultant from Spiezle Architectural Group, the Press reported.
Once testimony from each applicant expert concludes, all board members, town professionals including engineer, planner and attorney, can ask each expert questions, followed by questions from members of the public, the Press reported.
According to the Press report, Jasionowski noted in one open letter that hearings for this type of application “may take months or even years.”
He said the township received the application and plans on September 21 and that a municipal engineer has reviewed it ahead of the December 20 meeting, the Press reported. Claims that the new development will lower taxes for neighbors in River Vale was met with some skepticism in online comments replying to the mayor’s letters.
“No one in this town actually thinks our taxes will go down,” resident Tom Corvo told the Press.
Corvo said the mayor’s November 29 Facebook post “is honestly the first time my wife and I are hearing about this. Obviously planning and discussions have been going on for quite a while. Seems like this should have been communicated to the people of this town much sooner,” he wrote.
According to the Press report, Edgewood Country Club was founded in 1956 on properties of two former pre-Revolutionary War era farms that were later converted into a country estates, the Press reported. It is one of three golf courses within the township’s borders. Bergen County purchased Valley Brook Golf Course in 2006, and the municipality successfully maneuvered to purchase River Vale Country Club in 2010.