The 13-acre Towaco Center Core Area, consisting of Block 40 Lots 48-57, was established (along with the Towaco Center Transitional Area) as part of the Towaco Center Master Plan, which was adopted by the Planning Board in January 2008. Subsequently, in March 2008, the Township’s governing body adopted corresponding zoning amendment for these areas, which became the TC-1 and TC-2 Zones, respectively.
Both the Master Plan and zoning ordinance called for the Towaco Center Core Area (TC-1 Zone) to be developed with a mix of compatible residential and commercial land uses in a vibrant, compact, mixed-use community envisioned to complement the Towaco Train Station and serve residents of Towaco and the Township, as well as regional consumers. Uses in this district were thereby limited to at-grade retail, restaurant and personal service uses, while a limited number of residential units and office space
were permitted above grade. Stand-alone residential was specifically prohibited.
However, a number of changes have occurred over the past decade which now warrant the Township’s reassessment of the current master plan designation and zoning for the Towaco Center Core Area in order to ensure successful development of the area. Specifically, the Towaco Center Master Plan did not contemplate the economic downturn
and still lasting impacts associated with the Great Recession, which began in late 2008, nor did it contemplate the surge in online retail shopping that has reduced demand for brick and mortar stores across the country. The combination of these changed circumstances has led to increased vacancies and reduced rents for commercial storefronts in the TC-1 and TC-2 Zones.
Therefore, as set forth herein, it is now recommended that the TC-1 Zone be amended to permit stand-alone townhouse development in that portion of the zone which is at least 100 feet from Route 202. Doing so will allow greater flexibility to create a viable development in portions of the TC-1 Zone without Route 202 frontage, will prevent the oversaturation of retail in the area, and will support the vibrancy of the overall Towaco Center with the addition of new residents and consumers.