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WEST WINDSOR: Freedom Village apartment complex approved

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Like some of her classmates who graduated with her from West Windsor-Plainsboro High School North in 2009, Monica Koppstein would like to move out of her parents' home and live in her own apartment.

Koppstein, 29, works as a cashier's assistant at a local business. Although she has multiple disabilities and could live on her own with some support, there are few options available to her. That's why she has remained under her parents' roof.

But that could change, now that the West Windsor Township Planning Board has approved Project Freedom Inc.'s proposed 72-unit rental apartment complex, off Old Bear Brook Road.

Work on Freedom Village at West Windsor, as the new rental apartment complex will be known, is expected to begin at the end of this year or early in 2018.

The 72 apartments will be distributed among six, two-story buildings. There are 14 one-bedroom apartments, 42 two-bedroom apartments and 16 three-bedroom apartments. All are designed to be wheelchair-accessible, with wide doorways and hallways, elevators and walk-in showers.

Freedom Village at West Windsor will be Project Freedom's eighth development, Tracee Battis told the Planning Board at its Feb. 8 meeting. She is the director of housing development for the Robbinsville-based nonprofit organization. There are four developments in Mercer County, and one each in Burlington, Ocean and Salem counties.

Project Freedom Inc.'s mission is to provide affordable housing for people with disabilities, Battis said. The earliest projects were fully occupied by the disabled, she said.

But the State of New Jersey, which offers subsidies, now requires 25 percent of the units to be set aside for the disabled, Battis said. The rest are available to low- and moderate-income households.

For Freedom Village at West Windsor, this means 18 units would be deed-restricted for the disabled. Although the State of New Jersey's goal is to mix the disabled with the non-disabled, Project Freedom Inc. has found that about 40 percent of the units typically are occupied by the disabled, Battis said.

When the meeting was opened for public comment, a couple of attendees encouraged the Planning Board to approve the application.

Nantanee Koppstein said her daughter, Monica Koppstein, would "greatly benefit from the affordable, fully accessible and quality housing" that Project Freedom Inc. offers.

It would the first such housing development in West Windsor Township, Koppstein said. "There is a critical shortage of accessible housing for residents with disabilities," she said.

"Throughout the past several years, I have watched with envy the beautiful and well-maintained housing being developed, owned and efficiently run by Project Freedom Inc. in Hopewell, Lawrence, Robbinsville Hamilton and more," she said.

"Future residents of Freedom Village, like Monica, will be tax-paying and productive members of our community," Koppstein said.

If the application is approved, it would enable people with disabilities to live independently with their peers in the community, she said.

With little comment, the Planning Board unanimously approved Project Freedom Inc.'s application.


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