MONTCLAIR, NJ - During a regular meeting of the Montclair Township Council on Tuesday evening, proclamations were presented to the Matthew G. Carter Apartments Board of Trustees, Montclair High School Girls Soccer Champions, Former Montclair Fire Chief Kevin Allen and Mary Bentley Lamar and the Sickle Cell Association of New Jersey.
During the public comment portion of the meeting, former Montclair Mayors and a planning board member expressed their support of a six-unit affordable housing project in the Second Ward.
HOMECorp, a local nonprofit, is planning a $1.8 million low to moderate income dwelling at 127 Valley Road that would offer units ranging in price from $90,000 for a two-bedroom low-income unit to $150,000 for a three-bedroom moderate-income unit.
Former Mayors Jerry Fried and Ed Remsen verbalized their support of the project during the public comment portion of the meeting. Fried called the decision a, "...historic and rare opportunity to provide affordable housing." He continued, "The idea is to provide affordable housing throughout Montclair."
Remsen spoke of the challenges he faced with providing affordable housing while he was in office as well as historic issues towns share across the state in providing affordable housing. He called the effort a "no brainer."
Also in attendance was Planning Board member Peg Seip who stated that almost half of Montclair’s residents were using 30% or more of their income to rent or mortgage housing costs. She said, "In 2012, 40% of all renters and 42% of all homeowners in the town of Montclair are what the Federal Government considers to be Housing Cost Burdened." She said that the numbers are much higher in the fourth ward with 60% of renters and 75% of homeowners fitting the definition. She further stated, "Housing affordability is a huge problem here. "
Other residents spoke in favor of allocating some of the Housing Trust Fund money to the affordable housing project.
The council unanimously approved the Resolution authorizing disbursement of funds from the Montclair Housing Trust Fund of Homes of Montclair Ecumenical Corporation (“HOMECorp”) for the purchase and construction of affordable units at 127 Valley Road (R_14_182). $225,000 will be given to the HOMECorp project from the Montclair Housing Trust Fund to assist in offsetting the costs.
Deputy Mayor Russo praised Beverly Riddick of HOMECorp and said, "It is an achievement to be able to get this accomplished."
PENDING ORDINANCES/SECOND READING - All Unanimously passed by the council on this second reading.
A. Ordinance to amend Chapter 51 of the Township Code. Introduced and passed first reading November 10, 2014.
B. Ordinance amending Montclair Code Chapter 341-2 – Water Rates for Fire Lines Introduced and passed first reading November 17, 2014.
C. Ordinance amending Montclair Code Chapter 341-10.1 – Water Connection Fees Introduced and passed first reading November 17, 2014.
Also passed during the meeting, was a Resolution authorizing 2014 Community Development Block Grant (CDBG) applications (R_14_185). Russo said that the total requested from the various organizations including the streetscape improvements, totaled $583,000. The council members expressed concerns over more money being requested than what they had. Russo urged the residents to request more money from Congress people. Baskerville also urged applicants to apply with the county for CDBG funding, as well.