EDISON – A developer wants to subdivide the lot at 110 Clive St., locally known as the Lucille Ball pond site, to build two single-family homes, and nearby residents want to ensure the pond is protected and not split between the new lots.
Residents have said they would like to see the pond and its buffer zone in a separate lot and designated as an environmentally sensitive area with a deed restriction protecting it forever. In addition, residents want to see Middlesex County open space funds used to purchase the pond, and have it managed by the county, or jointly by Edison and Metuchen because the lot borders both towns.
The two large homes could be built in the area of an existing home on the site, as far north of the pond as possible, said residents who also want to see fencing and other protections put in place to safeguard the pond during construction.
S + A General Construction + Development Inc. has applied to the Edison Planning Board for minor subdivision approval to build the homes on the site. The application is scheduled to be heard 7 p.m. April 18 in the Council Chambers of the Municipal Building, 100 Municipal Boulevard.
Joseph Rydarowski, a Mason Drive resident, said the current proposal shows the two homes and the pond being split in half between the two lots. He said that scenario creates too many variables for future cleanup, the use of fertilizer, fencing and the possibility of leaves, grass and other yard debris being deposited in the pond.
Rydarowski said if the pond property was segmented on its own and put in trust or purchased by Middlesex County, Edison and Metuchen, or even volunteer groups, they could jointly maintain it.
“I’m sure there are options out there,” Rydarowski said.
In 2018 the governing bodies in both towns approved resolutions seeking to have Middlesex County purchase, rehabilitate, preserve and maintain the pond as protected wetlands.
Edison Mayor Sam Joshi could not be reached for comment Tuesday about the project.
Rydarowski also is concerned about a driveway onto the property from Mason Drive, which would run close to the pond.
The 20,000-year-old glacial pond in front of the existing large house at 110 Clive St., at the corner of Mason Drive, is home to turtles, frogs, salamanders, heron and other wildlife. Residents from both Edison and Metuchen have been fighting to preserve the pond for several years since learning about plans to develop the site.
Rydarowski said the plans indicate a circular driveway for one house facing Clive Street, but the latest plans also show another house facing Mason Drive with a driveway off that street, creating two separate driveways to the site. He would prefer to see two driveways for the homes off Clive Street, and eliminate any driveway near the pond.
“There is plenty of room to have access off of Clive Street,” Rydarowski said, adding the property would still need to be graded and retaining walls may need to be installed.
Last year the Planning Board asked the developer to address engineering issues on the site related to a steep slope on the property. The developer, whose original plans had called for a four-lot subdivision, also indicated at that time he was no longer planning to fill in the pond or impact the wetlands.
Those plans showed the pond would be about 75% on one property and 25% on the other and both homes would be in the general vicinity of the existing home that will be torn down.
Famed comedian Lucille Ball has no direct link to the home or property but is believed to have met with a local real estate agent in the early 1960s after divorcing Desi Arnaz and while she was working on stage in New York. That meeting led to speculation she was house shopping in the area and perhaps considering the stately home at 110 Clive St.
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Suzanne Russell is a breaking news reporter for MyCentralJersey.com covering crime, courts and other mayhem. To get unlimited access, please subscribe or activate your digital account today.