SCOTCH PLAINS, NJ — The Scotch Plains Planning Board unanimously endorsed a redevelopment plan for the Parker Gardens property on Terrill Road following a thorough presentation by planner Michael Mistretta of Harbor Consultants.

The 13.5 acre property, which has been designated as an area in need of redevelopment, will be transformed into a 228-unit housing development comprised of 181 apartment units and 47 townhouses. This figure is down from the originally proposed 352 overall units. Of the 228 total units, 34 will be designated as affordable and will thereby help Scotch Plains chip away at the 453 affordable housing units that the Township has been ordered to build according to a court settlement reached earlier this year.

The development will include ample parking and a give-back of 2.5 acres of “green space” to the Township for likely use as a baseball field or soccer field adjacent to Terrill Middle School property. The property will also include a clubhouse, a swimming pool and green space. Two apartment buildings will be four stories high, while three others will be three stories high.

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The unanimous vote means that the proposal will be put to a vote in front of the Scotch Plains Township Council on Tuesday, Dec. 11. Following the anticipated approval, the developer would then present formal site plans to the Planning Board before construction could begin.

During the meeting, Mayor Al Smith expressed his frustration with the affordable housing mandate that has been imposed on the Township.

“Whether we like it or not … this is where we are,” Mayor Smith said. “We will put 34 affordable unites there. That’s what this is all about.”

Planning Board Chairwoman Paulette Coronato was blunt in her assessment of the state's affordable housing mandate for Scotch Plains.

“It’s a shame that legislators in Trenton have not done what they’re supposed to do. It’s an embarrassment, and they should be ashamed of themselves,” Mrs. Coronato said.

“By declaring an area of redevelopment, we can exercise more control. We are trying to do the best job we can to keep Scotch Plains residential," she added. "We should express our displeasure with Trenton, we should let legislators know what we expect from them. It’s time that Trenton picks up the ball.”

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