Real Estate

Cranford Township Committee Introduces Birchwood Redevelopment Plan

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The Cranford Township Committee reviewed the redevelopment plan for the Birchwood property during a workshop session. Credits: Leah Scalzadonna
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The Cranford Township Committee reviewed the redevelopment plan for the Birchwood property during a workshop session.
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The Cranford Township Committee reviewed the redevelopment plan for the Birchwood property during a workshop session in November.
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CRANFORD, NJ – The Cranford Township Committee introduced an ordinance to approve the redevelopment plan for the Birchwood Avenue site at Monday night’s meeting.

The meeting on Monday night was a combined workshop session and official meeting. A review of the redevelopment plan was presented during the workshop session and put to vote during the official meeting.

A full presentation will take place during the next official meeting, when the committee will vote to adopt the ordinance.

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“The primary purpose is to prepare a redevelopment plan that will put the zoning in place for a 225-unit, inclusionary, multi-family housing development with 15 percent set aside so we capture 34 affordable units that will be used as part of our affordable housing plan,” Michael Mistretta, a planning consultant for Harbor Consultants, Inc. said.

According to the plan, the property will consist of three apartment buildings with 225 total units with a breakdown of 51 one-bedroom units, 15 one-bedroom units with a den, 96 two-bedroom interior units and 29 two-bedroom corner units. 34 of those units will be designated affordable housing, with three one-bedroom units, 24 two-bedroom units and seven three-bedroom units.

“Although this isn’t ideal and it’s not within what our zoning is, based on the court decision this was the best course of action we could do,” Commissioner Andis Kalnins said. “It’s reducing the density by 140 units and it’s not costing us too much, as far as the actual cost of the development.”

According to the redevelopment plan, there will be 416 parking spaces, with the majority underneath the buildings. The complex will also feature a community center for residents, an outdoor patio and clubhouse and bike trails.

There will be an average setback of 45 feet from Birchwood Avenue to the property with a buffer of 175 feet between the single family homes on Wadsworth Terrace.

Additionally, the project will feature flood storage, which was brought up by multiple residents during the official meeting.

“If you look at the Verizon property, it’s at least six to eight feet higher than Birchwood and everything is flowing down,” Cranford resident Frank Krause said, citing flooding in that area during multiple hurricanes and storms throughout the years. “It’s kind of strange how anyone would want to build there, even though you’ve reduced it beautifully.”

The flood storage, bike paths, a traffic study, etc. is an estimate and will be determined at the time of site plan approval before the planning board, according to Mistretta.

“What you see on your plan in terms of bike paths, etc. is conceptual,” Mistretta said.

The ordinance will be put to vote at the Nov. 28 meeting. A full presentation will be given at that time. To view more of the redevelopment plan, click here.

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