Levin Properties Asks For ‘Informal’ Planning Board Discussion On Rutgers Plaza Apartment Building Project

An artist’s rendering of Cosmopolitan at Somerset Town Center, the building with which Levin Properties is proposing to replace the former K-Mart building.

The owner of Rutgers Plaza on Easton Avenue will have an “informal” discussion before the Planning Board to discuss its plan to convert the former K-Mart building into a 200-unit apartment complex.

Among the topics of discussion is expected to be changing the zoning in that area to allow for residential use. The building, which is owned by Levin Properties, is currently in the General Business zone, which does not allow residential uses.

The discussion is set for October 12, according to Mark Healey, the township planning director.

The application is currently before the Zoning Board of Adjustment. Among the several variances sought in that application is a Use Variance.

The request to remove the application from the Zoning Board and instead hold an informal hearing before the Planning Board was made in a June 10 letter from Levin attorney John Wisniewski.

Although he did not specifically withdraw the application from the Zoning Board, in his letter, Wisniewski noted that the application was supposed to be heard in January, but extensions were granted until the end of June.

“The Applicant wishes to convert the existing application to an Informal Review before the Planning Board,” he wrote. “Therefore, no further extensions are needed from the Zoning Board.”

The project, called Cosmopolitan at Somerset Town Center, calls for the razing of the former K-Mart building, as well as other stores in the same footprint.

In its place would be a 4-story, 200-unit apartment building with a community area, an outdoor pool and a fitness center.

The project has drawn criticism from area residents, and caused the Township Council to take the rare action of publicly opposing it on the basis that the developer is attempting to strip the Council of its right to choose zoning in the township.

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