PLEASE READ THIS VERY IMPORTANT MESSAGE
Dear Supporter of Montgomery Volunteer Fire Company #1:
We are writing to make you aware of Montgomery Township’s plan for development of the wooded areas along and near Route 206 and Belle Mead-Griggstown Road. The planned development will include:
28 affordable housing units
3 new shopping centers
148 residential units
320 room assisted living facility
Specific to the land next door to our firehouse, where they plan on putting the 28 affordable housing units and a 66,000 sq. ft shopping plaza, the Fire Company has a number of concerns that could impede our ability to provide rapid and safe fire protection services to the residents of Montgomery. The current plan calls for the developer to cut into the driveway (Covert Drive) we use for our members to respond to the firehouse and for a number of our trucks to respond to fire calls.
There are a number of issues concerning this planned development that must be addressed including:
Montgomery Township Volunteer Fire Company #1 built and paid for the driveway leading into the Fire Company’s parking lot.
The town, via Committee meeting approvals in 1996, with subsequent letters to Somerset County, stated that “Covert Drive will be used as a driveway for the Fire Company and for Municipal use. It will NOT be a public roadway.”
The Fire Company has maintained the driveway since 1999. The Township even refused to plow, salt or sand the driveway for the past 16 years!
This driveway is the only entrance into the firehouse parking lot for our volunteer firefighters; and, it is the only exit for our 5 pieces of firefighting apparatus parked at the rear of the firehouse.
The current driveway/Covert Drive is 25’ wide and the developers plans do not call for it to be widened and do not include any type of shoulders for vehicles to pull over for emergency traffic.
The developers site plans and traffic studies never mentions that there is a fire house next door. In addition, the verbiage, in several areas, states the shopping centers will exit directly on Griggstown Road. The last minute change to use our driveway was never properly disclosed or discussed to the Fire Company.
Despite repeated objections from the Montgomery Volunteer Fire Company #1, the Township is allowing, and seemingly encouraging, the developer to create entrances and exits for the shopping plaza and 28 affordable housing units onto our driveway. This plan will negatively affect our firefighters
responding to the firehouse and will impair and delay emergency vehicles from exiting the rear of the firehouse. Any delay in our response to an emergency may have dire consequences.
There are a number of other issues pertaining to the planned development of which you, as a member of the community, should be aware of.
Traffic flow, especially along Route 206 and Belle Mead Griggstown Road will increase
Architecture of commercial and residential buildings as well as signage, lighting, landscaping, storm drainage
The effect upon the “rural look and feel” that our Township cherishes Montgomery Township Volunteer Fire Company #1 has investigated and researched an alternate solution which the developer, on public record, indicated would “work” for them and they also thought would provide added benefits over the current plans. It is the Township who refuses to entertain viable and safe alternate solutions.
The next Montgomery Township Planning Board meeting is scheduled for Monday, September 21st, at the Township Municipal Building at 7:30pm.
We ask and urge you to join us Monday evening so that you are fully apprised of the significant developments being proposed for our community and so that you have an opportunity to voice any thoughts and concerns to the Planning Board in advance of its final vote to approve the Township’s plan. Your participation at the meeting will be crucial if the Township continues to push for, and insist on, an unwanted solution which could impact the safety of the public we are protecting - we know that a better, or at the very least equal, alternative to the Township’s plan exists.
Thank you for your support.
The Officers and Members of Montgomery Volunteer Fire Company #1
Station 45 is a 100% volunteer station staffed by dedicated men and women who respond to emergencies 24 hours a day 365 days a year. We are always in need of hardworking individuals who would like to make a difference in their community. All members are provided the equipment and training to safely and effectively perform the duties of a firefighter. The basic 140 hour firefighter training course is given twice a year at the Somerset County Emergency Services Training Academy located in Hillsborough Township and must be completed within one year of becoming a member. Applicants must be at least 16 years of age, If you are interested in becoming a part of a great community organization and helping your neighbors please stop by the firehouse on any monday night at 7:30pm to learn more about becoming a firefighter.