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Rebuilding the Jersey shore
Local developer, building company Hillier Properties, LLCdonates boulders to help protect coastline
By KATIE MORGAN
The Princeton Sun
A local developer and buildingcompany is doing its part to re-store the Jersey shore in the wakeof Hurricane Sandy. Boulders do-nated by Hillier Properties, LLC,will be used to restore the coast-line, rebuild jetties and improveprotection for the beaches in theevent of future superstorms.Ground was broken on the Cop-perwood rental community, an ac-tive adult community for resi-dents aged 55 and over, in Novem-ber.Hillier Properties had previ-ously acquired the property,which consists of 20 acres onBunn Drive, from another devel-oper.“There’s 20 beautifully woodedacres,” said Bob Hillier, principaldeveloper and architect. “Whenwe acquired it, it had recentlybeen approved for basically 75percent of those acres to be dis-turbed. What that means is thetrees come down and there’s con-struction on the whole area. Thedeveloper who got that approvalwalked away.”Hillier adapted the plans forthe portion of land, designing acommunity that will encompassbetween three and four acres of the 20-acre site. Hillier said therest of the property will be leftundisturbed.“The other 17 acres we’re giv-ing off to conservation,” he said.“That really satisfied a lot of thetown officials involved with theapproval process.”Hillier said the companylooked at other sites being devel-oped on Bunn Drive to determinewhether the ground was particu-larly rocky, and they did not seeany evidence that they would ex-perience any issues or problemsupon breaking ground.However, once ground was bro-ken on the site and digging beganfor an underground parkinggarage, Hillier said they almostimmediately began uncoveringhuge boulders.“When we looked at the otherbuildings being put up on BunnDrive, there were not a lot of boul-ders,” he said. “But our site was just strewn with them.”Hillier said the boulders arethe result of glaciers that movedeast from Wisconsin and southfrom New Hampshire and meltedin the area.“These glaciers melted anddropped boulders,” he said. “It’sactually fairly common in thisarea to see boulders as a result of glacier melts.”The Princeton Regional Plan-ning Board had concerns aboutthe use of dynamite to remove theboulders, so Hillier was forced touse jackhammers to remove theboulders from the site.“We had to use some of thebiggest jackhammers you haveever seen,” he said.As the area of possible site dis-turbance was extremely limitedby the terms of the site plan ap-proval, Hillier was unable to storethe boulders on the site.“This was 400 tons of boul-ders,” he said. “It was a pile – amountain, really – 30 feet highand it took up a space the size of half a football field. We had prom-ised everyone we wouldn’t dis-turb any more than the four or soacres that we were building on.We were very limited on wherewe could put them.”Hillier reached out to landscap-ers, contractors, and roadbuilders, and was unable to findanyone who was interested inusing the boulders.“We were calling everyone,”Hillier said. “We had this hugemountain of boulders, and wewere about to spend a lot of money to truck it out to rock min-ing companies.”Hillier said he was surprisedwhen a contractor from the Jer-sey Shore, representing Lyons
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