Citing the need to drum up interest in home sales, representatives from a Manchester senior development this week received approval from the township's Planning Board to change landscaping and add new model homes.
An attorney for Pulte Homes, owner of the River Pointe community located off of Ridgeway Boulevard, requested two amendments to the site plan at the board's regular August meeting on Monday which aim to "enhance" a visitor's first impression upon arrival.
"We're trying to enhance the entrance way and stimulate sales," said attorney James Mullen. "Sales have been slow in the community."
Mullen said that about 150 homes sold and closed to date, and only about "a dozen" have been sold in 2012.
"We're trying to attract customers to our site," he said.
The improvements outlined include a doubling of trees, additional berming with flowers and a low retaining wall at certain points along Retreat Drive, the main access road to River Point from Ridgeway Boulevard.
The applicant also requested that they be allowed to install graphics on Retreat Drive for crosswalks and a bike lane.
"We're doing that to enhance pedestrian safety and we're trying to indicate a bit of traffic calming," said landscape architect Thomas Bauer. "Sometimes the cars do get a little bit of speed going down" on Retreat Drive.
Board member William Barron asked whether the road is wide enough to accommodate the bike lane. Pulte representatives said there are two 20 feet lanes and 4 feet of each will be marked for bikes.
Once installed, the new landscaping will be maintained by the River Pointe homeowners' association, according to Pulte representatives.
Board members also approved Pulte's request to construct a model home area near the terminus of Retreat Drive at Lyndhurst Lane featuring five new house designs.
The new homes, which are about the same size as existing models and will fit in the neighborhood's existing lot layout, are the result of nationwide market testing, according to Mullen.
"There are other types of homes that we think will sell," he said.