SOUTH BRUNSWICK, NJ - June 29th, was the deadline for the South Brunswick township to rezone areas of the township for affordable housing. The township has been in compliance with a court order from November 2019, which demands the township and planning board to rezone multiple properties in the township.
On June 23, a series of amendments to the township code regarding affordable housing and land use were approved by the council after being discussed at length during a planning board meeting on June 17th, 2020. Members of the council approved these amendments ‘under protest,’ others expressed how displeased they are at these mandated changes but approved the ordinances.
Amendments to the land use chapter of the township code included the creation of the Court’s Third Round Affordable Housing (CTRAH) District, which provides the opportunity for inclusionary residential developments. An amendment to meet the standards of the Fair Housing Act, and permitting approximately three acres of commercial development at the northwest corner of the intersection of Route 130 and Friendship Road. The remaining undeveloped acres will be used for developing housing units, according to the amendment.
In October 2016, a superior court ordered that nearly 15,000 affordable housing units be built in South Brunswick by the year 2025. The final decision was made by Judge Douglas Wolfson, a former judge who now works as a general council for a real estate development company. According to Don Sears, the law director of South Brunswick township, Wolfson had represented developers before his decision in 2016, making his decision biased. In 2018, the township filed a motion for reconsideration, bringing the township obligation to 1,417 affordable units.
Members of the council, as well as the public, have expressed major concerns about the health and safety of the township if these additional housing units are put in place. Traffic on Route 1 could increase, leading to more motor vehicle accidents. School districts will have to be redone to meet the influx of more children in the township. Mr. Sears said that the current sewer system cannot handle the amount of excess waste that these new housing units will create.
On August 31st, the court will hold a public hearing to decide if the township has met all of their court ordered changes. The township hopes to appeal some of the decisions made by Wolfson.