The city has accepted a donation of land from the Basking Ridge Planned Community developer that should help with the planned extension of Constitution Boulevard.
The city already had an easement on 1.8 acres of the 5.15-acre property to extend the road, which is intended to eventually connect Bridgeport Avenue with Shelton Avenue (Route 108) near Shelton Intermediate School.
The Board of Aldermen recently voted unanimously to accept the land donation, with aldermanic President John Anglace expressing appreciation for the generosity of the gift.
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Mayor Mark Lauretti said the heirs of the Basking Ridge developer wanted to give the parcel to the city, perhaps for tax reasons. “It abuts the [potential] road and when the road goes through, it will have a lot of value,” Lauretti said.
Once built, an extended Constitution Boulevard would have separated most of the donated land — 3.4 acres — from the current Basking Ridge development.
Cluster housing development
Basking Ridge consists of a group of cluster homes off Nells Rock Road, with Basking Ridge Road and Basking Brook Lane being nearest the donated land. The development is accessible through the neighboring L’Hermitage condominium complex.
The land donation offer was formalized in a July 11 letter by Scott Buddenhagen of Weston to Lauretti. Don Buddenhagen, who died in 2013, had been the Basking Ridge developer and was Scott’s father.
“There will be no restrictions on the property,” Scott Buddenhagen said in his letter, while noting the donated parcel borders city-owned open space on two sides.
Extending Constitution Boulevard
The city hopes to get a private developer to build a road to connect Constitution Boulevard South and Constitution Boulevard North as part of an overall plan for undeveloped property in the area.
Lauretti now is negotiating with potential developers, who might be given property by the city at a discounted price in return for spending millions of dollars to construct the road and pursue certain kinds of development.
“We’re still working and still discussing it,” Lauretti said of the status of those talks. “A lot of evaluation goes into this by a developer.”
The city already owns — or has easements for — most of the land needed for the extended road, as well as surrounding properties. This includes the city-owned 66-acre Mas property.
Connecting two thoroughfares
The goal is to build a major road to get people from Bridgeport Avenue, near Exit 13, to Shelton Avenue, near the intermediate and high schools. An extended Constitution Boulevard is expected to intersect with Nells Rock Road slightly before Shelton Avenue.
The new road likely would reduce through traffic on the hilly and curvy Nells Rock Road, and also open up land between Bridgeport and Shelton avenues for development to expand the tax base. New development would probably include residential and commercial aspects.