Mountainside Council Moving Forward on Barnes Tract Redevelopment: Public Opportunity to Comment, Dec. 29

John Post, Borough Attorney, provides history of Barnes Tract and Mount Laurel Doctrine at Nov. 24 Council Meeting. Credits: Bobbie Peer

MOUNTAINSIDE, NJ - The Borough Council voted at the Nov. 24 meeting in favor of Resolution 109-2015 regarding the Redevelopment Plan of Block 14, Lot 14, known as the Barnes Tract. The land would be redeveloped by constructing several new retail stores and apartments. 

The ordinance will designate the 5-acre piece of land owned by the borough as an area in need of redevelopment as stipulated under the state’s Local Redevelopment and Housing Law. This designation can provide incentives for landowners to update buildings and facilities on their properties, if those properties meet certain requirements. 

"Tonight, we are passing an ordinance on the first reading where there is no public participation by law," said Mayor Paul Mirabelli. "The second reading on December 29 is the opportunity for the public's input. After the public input, we will consider adopting the ordinance." 

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This tract of land is part of an Affordable Housing plan approved in court by Judge Karen Cassidy in September 2014. 

"As long as the borough complies with the terms of that judgment, we do not need to worry about any more builder's remedy suits," said John Post, borough attorney. 

"We are committed to using the Barnes Tract for Affordable Housing purposes," he said. "That is necessary to preserve the immunity."

Click here to view the history/timeline behind the Barnes Tract and the Mount Laurel Doctrine.

The plan determined that the Borough's Affordable Housing allocation for the period between 1987 and 2018 was 123 units -- six were satisfied, leaving 117 that need to be dealt with, said Post. 

The plan anticipates that 16 affordable units will be built on three different sites: five acres at Block 3-A, Lots 17 and 18, which will accommodate 23 market units and 6 affordable units that are all age restricted (The Pond at Mountainside LLC); 8.3-acres [with 3.2 acres usable] next to the Brighton Gardens facility will accommodate 24 market units and four affordable; and the five-acre Barnes Tract on Mountain Avenue will accommodate 24 market units and six affordable. The density factor incorporated in this plan is six units per acre with 20-percent of those units being satisfied for affordable units.

The Planning Board was asked to verify the Barnes Tract plan is consistent with the Borough's Master Plan. "We expect the Planning Board to address that question and pass a resolution at their December 22nd meeting," said Post.

If all goes as planned, "early 2016, the Borough will be in the position to circulate an invitation for proposals from anyone who has expressed an interest and identified as a potential partner with the Borough in this redevelopment project," he said.​

Related articles: Mountainside Moves to Investigate Redeveloping Barnes Tract

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