Unfortunately for East Whitehouse, high-intensity development is proposed for 39 acres of wooded and open land fronting on Old Highway and Lamington Road. This land is directly adjacent to the historic Ryland Inn and within the newly created Historic District. Because the development is many times the intensity allowed by zoning, the developer, known as “Ryland Developers LLC (not related to the firm, Landmark Developers that are refurbishing the Ryland Inn), has applied to the Zoning Board of Adjustment for a variance. The project calls for the construction of 244 residential units to be located in four large apartment buildings. These buildings would tower over Lamington Road, Ryland Road, and the historic Ryland Inn. Many residents feel that the level of development is inappropriate for this very significant area. The application was first heard by the Board of Adjustment on November 20th 2014, and a continuation of the hearing is now scheduled for March 15th.
The Readington Historic Preservation Commission reviewed the application on December 9th 2014 and concern was expressed at the meeting that the size of the development will dwarf the Ryland Inn and the surrounding district. Environmental concerns include the proposed leveling of old growth trees to the east and northeast of the Ryland Inn, and the creation of expansive 16 foot high retaining walls. Read the minutes of the Readington Historic Preservation Commission’s meeting of December 9th.
Residents are urged to attend the Board of Adjustment hearing on March 19th and speak up on the potential negative impact if this zoning variance were to be granted. Check Readington Township’s Board of Adjustment Minutes and Agendas webpage bfore attending to confirm the hearing date.
Readington Township’s pleasant historical character is enhanced by a number of small rural villages that dot our sprawling township’s landscape. Readington residents enjoy the fact that these historic villages (including Stanton, Readington, and Whitehouse) were focal points of activity within a flourishing agricultural community in the early 1800’s and they still remain very much as they were 100 years ago. Their historical significance has been recognized by placement on the National Register of Historic Places. Efforts have been made over the years to “Greenbelt” these historic villages and assure that our land use ordinance protects and enhances their historic integrity.
Thanks to the work of Readington’s Historic Preservation Commission, the Whitehouse-Mechanicsville Historic District on Old Highway has recently been listed on the New Jersey Register of Historic Places. This designation prioritizes land use policies that enhance and protect the village. Residents who care about protecting Readington’s historical areas, however, must continue to be vigilant. The historic character of the village of “East Whitehouse” as this village is commonly known, is presently facing a serious threat.
March 1, 2015
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See historic photos on the Whitehouse United Methodist Church's website.